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Fairport-E.Rochester Post
  • Groups rally against Gorham breeders

  • Graphic and often emotional testimony came from members of animal rescue groups and others Wednesday as citizens weighed in at a public hearing before the Town Board on a proposed one-year moratorium on dog-breeding facilities.

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  • Graphic and often emotional testimony came from members of animal rescue groups and others Wednesday as citizens weighed in at a public hearing before the Town Board on a proposed one-year moratorium on dog-breeding facilities.
    “I have seen first-hand what puppy-mill dogs go through,” said Deb Glick, vice president of Central New York Citizens Against Puppy Mills.
    She and others urging the moratorium cited cruel treatment in commercial breeding facilities, including the practice of silencing barking dogs by hammering rods down the animals’ throats. Dogs coming out of such facilities have behavioral and physical problems ranging from missing teeth to blindness and other ailments that often land them in rescue shelters, they said.
    Mark Patrick, owner of Tuxedo’s K9 Training Camp Inc., which operates throughout the Finger Lakes region, said he spent $35,000 on medical bills and training on one pup who came from a dog-breeding facility. The pup needed care from Cornell University experts to reverse the damage poor nutrition and upbringing had done, he said.
    “A moratorium is the first step in helping the problem of overpopulation in shelters,” said Patrick.
    Connie Brown, a board member with Happy Tails, the Humane Society of Ontario County, said animal shelters are overwhelmed with an overpopulation of dogs, and breeding facilities add to the problem.
    Those with CNY Citizens Against Puppy Mills and a like-minded group, Joyful Rescues — who held up photographs of rescue dogs they had named after Gorham Town Board members to make a point, with humor — said they looked to the town to set an example for other communities wrestling with the issue.
     “New York is the second-largest state in selling dogs from puppy mills,” Glick said.
    If Gorham prevents these type of facilities, then it will strengthen efforts elsewhere, said Andrea Francis of Farmington with CNY Citizens Against Puppy Mills.
    “Let’s let Gorham set an example for the world,” she said.
    Leading off the public comment Wednesday was a watershed expert urging the moratorium for environmental reasons.
    Speaking as an Ontario County resident and member of organizations including the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, Steve Lewandowski said the existing application for a dog-breeding facility could generate some 60 tons of dog waste and 70 dog carcasses annually. It would imperil ground water and potentially drinking water due to the facility’s proximity to Canandaigua Lake and the swimming beach and water filtration plant at Deep Run, he said.
    Town Supervisor Fred Lightfoote told Lewandowski he had to keep his comments to dog-breeding facilities in general, and not talk about the specific application. But not before Lewandowski hinted the watershed association wouldn’t hesitate to take legal action if necessary, citing a case it fought a few years ago against a proposed lakefront development on the west side of the lake.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We litigated ... as a result it showed we had standing in legal matters,” said Lewandowski.
    Only one person strongly urged against a moratorium over fears it would quell farming endeavors in general.
    “If we outlaw this business, just like many other businesses, this will go to China,” said Gorham resident Rick Gage “This is an agriculture town, and I’d like to see agriculture business.”
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