02/10/14 4:13pm
02/10/2014 4:13 PM
FEral Cats in Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Supervisor Sean Walter holds his new puppy, ‘Bandit,’ alongside Pam Green of Kent and Al LaFrance of SAVES, a North Fork feline humane organization.

The times are a-changin’ at North Fork animal rescue nonprofit Spay, Alter, Vaccinate, Every Stray — more commonly known as SAVES — as the organization announced a new president recently and will soon hand over operation of its adoption center at the Riverhead Petco.


12/27/13 4:00pm
12/27/2013 4:00 PM

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Chipper the dog resting at North Fork Animal Welfare League’s shelter in Calverton. The paralyzed animal was rescued about two weeks ago.

An abandoned, paralyzed dog recently found wandering the streets around town is being nursed back to health at North Fork Animal Welfare League’s shelter in Calverton.

A father and son found the 10-year-old border collie about two weeks ago shivering, emaciated and struggling to move due to a spinal injury that left his back legs paralyzed. They then wrapped the dog, now named Chipper, in a blanket and took him to the animal shelter.

Although the veterinarians there aren’t able to determine how long Chipper has been paralyzed, they believe he was someone’s pet because he’s sociable and neutered.

Gillian Wood, NFAWL’s executive director, said Chipper is able to move around using his front legs. Dragging his belly on the floor, the dog can drink from a water bowl, fetch treats and greet visitors. Unlike other dogs with similar injuries, she said Chipper is able to control his bowels.

“It’s hard to believe someone would just leave him,” Ms. Wood said. “He is a pretty special guy.”

In order to help Chipper with his recovery, NFAWL volunteer Scott Kessler has modified the shelter’s small rolling cart to help the dog move around. As Chipper continues to get healthier, Ms. Woods said her group hopes to find him a loving home.

“He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body,” she said. “He is as sweet as could be. That’s why we named him Chipper.”


12/01/12 9:33am
12/01/2012 9:33 AM

GABBY GLANTZMAN PHOTO | The three-legged deer near an Orient home, with wood and wire tangled in its antlers.

It was a white-tailed deer, not a reindeer, but there was still holiday spirit aplenty when the North Fork Animal Welfare League got help from a local veterinarian in rescuing a three-legged buck whose antlers were hopelessly tangled in nylon ribbon, wooden posts and tomato cages at an Orient residence. The mess was attached to a nearby fence, trapping him.

“The poor guy, I figured if anyone deserves a second chance, he does,” said Dr. John Andresen, a veterinarian at Matittuck-Laurel Veterinary Hospital who helped to free the deer.

“He could still run around, but his head was tied to this long lead of tangled up fencing,” said NFAWL director Gillian Wood Pultz. She called Dr. Andresen, who has a keen interest in large animals, to come out with a tranquilizer gun so the rescue team to get close enough to remove the unwanted headgear without harming the animal or themselves.

“Once he was tranquilized it only took about 10 or 15 minutes to get him untangled,” Ms. Pultz said. Eventually the buck regained consciousness.

“That was a pretty traumatic experience and he needed to calm down, so we just let him be as he woke up and told the owners of the property to call us if he wasn’t up and moving around in an hour,” she said.

Dr. Andresen said he was only too happy to help save the deer.

“Initially, when I got out of vet school, I wanted to be a zoo vet,” he said. “But that’s not really practical because there aren’t many openings to do that, so it’s always just been an interest of mine.”

Ms. Wood Pultz described the rescue as “a good story because it had a good outcome. More often than not there are bad outcomes and we have to humanely euthanize the deer. Every year, we see deer that haven’t been tracked by hunters running around with arrows in them. Recently we had to humanely euthanize a fawn that was attacked by a dog and suffered a broken spine.”

Ms. Wood Pultz said traumatic injuries in deer are fairly common, but three-legged deer are less so and she knows of only one other, which has been living in Southold Town for years.

As for the Orient deer’s missing foreleg, she said the amputation appeared to be an old injury.


09/16/11 1:47pm
09/16/2011 1:47 PM

DIANNE BOOTH COURTESY PHOTO | Chester a Hillcrest Stables in Calverton.

Four months ago, Chester, a horse rescued from Abess Farm in Calverton, was so emaciated his ribs were visible and his hair was falling out in clumps, officials said.

But today, Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals officials announced he is “spry and alert.”

The Suffolk SPCA also released a photo of the horse that shows a muscular animal with a beautiful, thick coat and a healthy mane.

He has been cared for at Hillcrest Stables on Middle Road in Calverton since his resuce.

“They literally nursed him back to health,” said Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross.

Chester and two dozen horses and ponies — two of which were found locked in a barn with no food or water — as well as goats, a sheep and a pig were found underfed and neglected on the Roue 25 farm in April, officials said.

Authorities were granted access to the property by a law firm overseeing foreclosure proceedings there and charges were later filed against that farm’s owner, Marie Tooker, authorities said.

“I don’t ever remember seeing a horse in such poor condition; this is not your standard backyard cruelty case.” Chief Gross told the News-Review when Chester was rescued.

Chester’s story has been chronicled on a Facebook page, Chester Gets A Second Chance.


VERA CHINESE PHOTO | Chester, shortly after his rescue in April.

09/13/11 2:26pm
09/13/2011 2:26 PM

When kayaker Jim MacDougall of Wading River found an injured swan near Indian Island County Park in Riverhead this July, he thought the bird had a branch sticking out its body.

He paddled a little closer and soon realized why the bird was barely moving — someone had shot an arrow through its torso.

The middle school music teacher trapped the usually aggressive animal between the bow of the vessel and his paddle without much conflict. He used his free hand to call authorities.

“He couldn’t even climb up onto the island, he was that injured,” Mr. McDougall said Tuesday from Indian Island. “I got him to that one spot. He was really calm.”

The bird, which was rescued under the County Road 105 bridge, was then brought to the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons in Hampton Bays. At first, the prognosis didn’t look good. It couldn’t walk for weeks and though the arrow had missed all vital organs, caretakers suspected nerve damage.

Its rescuers didn’t even name him.

“We’d be too sad if he died,” said Virginia Frati, the center’s executive director.

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But on a sunny September day, nearly two months after it was found, the swan looked no worse for the wear. On Tuesday the bird, who had been completely rehabilitated, was carried to the Peconic Bay in a plastic bin, wrapped in a burlap sack.

Peaking its head out of the container to look at the swarm of reporters and photographers surrounding it, the swan was quiet and docile as it awaited its return to the wild.

The swan, estimated to be about a year old, was freed and it made its way to a marsh off Indian Island golf course. It was finally returned to the waterway, where it will most likely find a lifelong mate and live out the rest of its years.

“You see so many horror stories and so many bad things, people say ‘how can you [work for this agency]‘” said Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Chief Roy Gross, which is still hunting the swan’s attacker. “This makes it worth it.”

Though this story has a happy ending, Chief Gross noted that two other animals cruelty victims were not so lucky. A turtle found with a nail hammered through its shell in Sag Harbor in July is not faring well and a sea gull that had been hit with a rock in Montauk had died.

He noted the incidents may be related.

The SPCA is still pursuing charges against whomever shot the swan, he said. Animal cruelty is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

The Suffolk SPCA is offering a $14,750 reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest in the swan case and $16,000 in the turtle case. The agency is able to offer such a high reward due to a large amount of donations that poured in after photos of the swan ran throughout regional news outlets, horrifying viewers, yet at the same time motivating them to help the investigation along.

Though the swan returned to the wild nameless, Chief Gross had one suggestion for a moniker.

“We should call him Lucky,” he said.


VERA CHINESE PHOTO | This swan, which was found with an arrow shot through its body in July, was completely rehabilitated and returned to the wild Tuesday.

07/16/11 9:35am
07/16/2011 9:35 AM

The Riverhead Kennel Club is hosting its 80th and 81st all-breed dog show & obedience trials Friday and Saturday at the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus in Northampton.

The show is dedicated to Blanche Y. Schoning, founder of Schoshire Kennels in Aquebogue. She acquired and began breeding miniature wire-haired dachsunds in 1964 and the kennel has produced over 100 champions since its inception. Ms. Schoning passed away in August 2010. The kennel is now owned and run by David Borders and Dwayne Early.

411 dogs participated in Friday’s show, with 84 breeds entered. For Saturday’s show,  there are 456 dogs entered of 93 breeds.

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BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Shoshire Kennels co-owner Dwayne Early of Aquebogue and his two-year-old long-haired Chihuahua Lady Gaga. She won 'Best of Opposite Sex.'

07/12/11 6:00am
07/12/2011 6:00 AM

COURTESY PHOTO | The Lhasa Apso mix and pit bull mix found July 1.

The Riverhead Town Animal Shelter is searching for the owners of two dogs found in Calverton earlier this month.

A Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso mix, estimated to be about three-years-old, and a pit bull mix, estimated to be about six-months-old, were found on Donna Drive July 1.

Neither dog had identification tags or microchips. They are described as friendly and playful.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Riverhead Animal Shelter at 369-6189.

06/22/11 12:57pm
06/22/2011 12:57 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Puppy Experience on the Main Road in Aquebogue.

Animal rights advocates and pet store owners clashed Tuesday over a proposed Suffolk County law to ban the retail sale of puppies unless pet store owners get the animals from shelters, rescue groups or local breeders.

Legislator Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor), who sponsored the resolution, said the ban is needed because the majority of puppies sold in pet stores are purchased from large-scale commercial breeding operations, known as “puppy mills,” in other parts of the country.

According to the proposed bill, which was subject to a public hearing at Tuesday’s county Legislature meeting in Riverhead, puppy mills breed dogs “like livestock” and sell them as young as five weeks old, despite federal regulations banning the sale of puppies less than eight weeks old.

“This resolution has to do with the horrific conditions in which mother dogs are bred in puppy mills,” Mr. Cooper explained at the meeting, adding that he believes every pet store in the county sells puppies obtained from puppy mills.


A  woman who answered the phone at Puppy Experience in Aquebogue, the North Fork’s only pet store, said the proposed law wouldn’t affect her business because she doesn’t “sell dogs from puppy mills.” When asked where the dogs were obtained from she replied, “No comment. Thank you,” and hung up.

Other pet stores in eastern Suffolk did not return calls seeking comment.

Nearly 30 people expressed their opinions on the proposal Tuesday.

While many pet store owners admitted to purchasing their puppies from Missouri — a state Mr. Cooper said is notorious for puppy mills — they denied their breeders were unprofessional.

Huntington resident Al Selmer, who has owned a pet store for 45 years, said he purchases puppies from the Midwest because local breeders won’t do business with him.

“People that breed dogs here do not want to sell to me because they have a market of their own,” Mr. Selmer said. “What this bill will do is have more people selling dogs out of their homes.”

In addition to discouraging puppy mill sales, the law aims to promote animal shelters, rescue organizations and Suffolk County breeders. A breeder is required to register with the state if it breeds more than nine dogs a year, officials said.

Sara Davison, executive director of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons in Wainscott, said she’s pleased the ban would discourage consumers from purchasing from pet shops.

“The pitiful state that puppies are displayed in local stores plays to the heartstrings of the unsuspecting public,” Ms. Davison said. “It’s time Suffolk County joins a national trend and bans these businesses that support the puppy mill industry.”

About 2 million puppies are either purchased, sold or adopted across the country each year, Mr. Cooper said, but nearly 5 million dogs die in shelters each year.

Bambi Nicole Osborne, a spokeswoman for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, a trade group based in Washington, D.C., said in a statement that the bill “falls well short” of reducing the population of unwanted animals.

“Breeders, shelters and rescues in Suffolk County do not have the capacity to provide pet owners with all breeds of dogs desired,” Ms. Osborne said. “Banning importation of dogs from outside the county will not stop pet owners from going elsewhere [for] their companion animal of choice.”

Ms. Davison added that the county doesn’t have legal authority to adopt the proposed bill because the state supersedes all regulations related to pet sales.

But Mr. Cooper said he’s confident the bill will pass and be upheld, citing recent bans in New Mexico and Texas.

In addition, Suffolk County became the first municipality in the nation to create an animal abuse registry as a way to shame abusers. In May, the Legislature unanimously approved a new law requiring pet stores, breeders and animal shelters to check the animal abuse registry before allowing the purchase or adoption of animals by prospective pet owners. Mr. Cooper sponsored both bills.

If the puppy ban is approved, the Suffolk County Department of Consumer Affairs would be responsible for enforcement. First-time violators will face a $500 penalty per puppy and a $1,000 penalty per puppy for subsequent offensives.