08/23/13 5:00pm
08/23/2013 5:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO |  Sue Condreras with her German shepherd Jesse, an experienced rescue dog that was honored with the Award for Canine Excellence as a Search and Rescue Dog.

Sue Condreras of Northville knew something was wrong the moment her German shepherd came out of the brush.

Jesse, who was wearing a vest that marked her as a trained search and rescue dog, was limping and yelping in pain.

The experienced rescue dog had suffered two herniated discs in her spine. But even a six-month rehabilitation process, which involved acupuncture and physical therapy, couldn’t keep Jesse down.

And Ms. Condreras could tell her partner wanted to get back out in the field.

“You can sit in my yard and throw the ball 10,000 times and she’ll bring the ball back 10,000,” Ms. Condreras said, explaining how she knew Jesse was eager to work again.

So Jesse was put back in action and, on her first rescue mission in the swamps of New Jersey, she located a missing hunter.

Jesse and Ms. Condreras’ dedication is now being honored by the American Kennel Club, which has announced Jesse as the winner of this year’s Award for Canine Excellence as a Search and Rescue Dog.

“It’s an honor for us to go out there and receive this award on behalf of all the other search dogs and canine teams that go out there and work,” Ms. Condreras said.

Ms. Condreras has owned German shepherds for years and has practiced obedience training with them, but decided about six years ago that she wanted to train a dog specifically for search and rescue.

She went to a reputable breeder in New Jersey, who showed her Jesse, then a 4-month-old pup.

“It was a match made in heaven,” Ms. Condreras recalled. “She came up to me and wrapped her paws around me.”

When Jesse turned a year old, their training began and the dog eventually became certified as a volunteer live search and human remains detection dog. The two operate through a Long Island volunteer group, going wherever emergency officials need them.

Jesse doesn’t just search for lost people. She also serves as a therapy dog, and has visited hospitals and nursing homes more than 250 times.

“The most rewarding thing is we’re able to do this as a team,” Ms. Condreras said. “There’s a bond that’s gotten that much stronger. Sometimes you look in her eyes and you know what’s going on … There’s a bond I can’t explain.”

Lisa Peterson, an American Kennel Club spokesperson, said Jesse typifies the tenacity of her breed.

“It’s really quite something,” Ms. Peterson said. “Jesse is multi-talented.”

Jesse and Ms. Condreras will accept the award at this year’s annual National Championship dog show in Orlando, Fla. Until then, the two partners are taking a little time to celebrate.

This week, as Ms. Condreras relaxed as part of a short stay-at-home vacation. Jesse couldn’t rest; she was swimming in the pool.


08/06/13 5:00pm
08/06/2013 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Baxter, Misha and Sidney of Selden with their owner Irene Rabinowitz at last year’s dog park opening in Calverton. Riverhead’s own dog park at Stotzky Park will open Saturday.

Isn’t it about time you throw your dog a bone? Riverhead residents now have the opportunity to do just that.

The opening of the brand new Duke Dog Park is set to take place at 1 p.m. Saturday in the upper parking field at Stotzky Park. Councilman James Wooten and other elected officials will be on hand to usher in the latest addition to the Riverhead community.

The park gives residents a chance to let their dogs run free and play in a large, secure fenced-in area. The new park comes just a year after the long-awaited dog park at EPCAL in Calverton opened.

Councilman Wooten worked alongside Riverhead resident Denise Lucas, the founder of the non-profit “Move the Animal Shelter,” or M.T.A.S, who played a big role in raising enough funds to build the park and for supplies.

“I think there is a big advantage to having a dog park in our town,” Mr. Wooten said. “There are a lot of seniors who live in condos who don’t have that space.”

Mr. Wooten said he believes Riverhead was one of the last communities to get its own dog park.

“It gives people a place to go,” he said. “I think there is a real need for it and I see a desire for it.”

The park is free to the public.

07/18/13 5:00pm
07/18/2013 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN PHOTO | Puppies saved from Grand Bahama will soon be available for adoption at Kent Animal Shelter.

There’s nothing cuter than a yard full of puppies. And when they’re puppies saved from a dismal future, their big eyes and wagging tails seem even sweeter.

Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton is taking part in ‘Operation Puppy Lift,’ a program started by the Humane Society of Grand Bahama.

The northernmost island of the Bahamas, Grand Bahama has population issues with stray dogs and only one animal shelter to deal with the problem. Around 1,200 animals are taken in per year at the shelter, Kent executive director Pam Green said. Overcrowding leads to a high euthanasia rate.

To help save the puppies, HSGB started “Operation Puppy Lift,” in which the organization joins together with no-kill shelters in the U.S. to take in the needy pups. Kent welcomed 15 new puppies Wednesday who were flown in from the tropics.

The strays traveled on a private charter from Grand Bahama to Florida, and then went on a commercial airplane to JFK airport in New York where the shelter workers picked them up. HSGB paid for the transportation through its own funding and the puppies are solely in the shelter’s care now.

Kent became involved in the program when office manager Linda MacDonald reached out to a friend who worked with HSGB. Ms. Green said she plans on making this an ongoing partnership.

“It’s such a shame that these little guys are being put to sleep without a chance,” she said as small puppies on leashes ran around her legs. “It’s just a different culture there when dealing with the dogs.”

The dogs are called “potcake puppies,” a local name used to describe the native mixed breeds on the island.

“They’re a mixed breed and look a little collie-ish … they have longer snouts,” Ms. Green said when describing their appearance.

The adorable puppies are all less than a year old, the youngest being four months, and shelter staff members said the dogs will stay a small to medium size into adulthood.

After being checked by a veterinarian, vaccinated and spayed or neutered, the puppies will be put up for adoption. The shelter is hopeful the process will be complete by the end of the week.

Kelly Cross, a staff member at the shelter, said that although she limits one dog for herself, it is difficult not to get attached to the new ones when they arrive.

One pup from Grand Bahama is already stealing her heart.

“I think this one is my favorite so far,” she said of a tiny white puppy with light brown spots. “You get very attached — I mean just look at them. But it’s rewarding to see a great family come in and fall in love. It’s sad to see them go, but it’s a good kind of sad.”

The shelter is also picking up four more puppies on Saturday who hail from Turks and Caicos, islands with a similar dog problem.

Those interested in adopting one of the new puppies can visit the shelter’s website www.kentanimalshelter.com. Pictures of the new pups should be online in a few days, and applications are available on the website.


05/08/13 8:00pm
05/08/2013 8:00 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Members of the Suffolk County Probation Officers Association at the starting line of a motorcycle rally that raised more than $1,000 for charity.

COURTESY PHOTO | Members of the Suffolk County Probation Officers Association at the starting line of a motorcycle rally that raised more than $1,000 for charity.

A motorcycle rally by the Suffolk County Probation Officers Association raised $1,400 last month for a national guide dog foundation that serves disabled veterans and active duty service members.

The rally started outside the association’s building in Patchogue on April 20 and ended at The Maples restaurant in Manorville. The event featured lunch for the riders, live music and door prizes, officials said.

The money raised through the rally went to the America’s VetDogs — Veteran’s K-9 Corps, a nonprofit founded by the Guide Dog Foundation. The group helps veterans by providing assistance dogs and training at no cost to help disabled veterans get the support they need, according to the group’s website.


04/09/13 2:00pm
04/09/2013 2:00 PM

Riverhead police and town workers helped rescue a dog trapped in a sewer late Monday afternoon, police said.

The dog’s owner notified police that her dog was trapped in a sewer drain in front of her Fishel Avenue home about 4:30 p.m., police said. A The owner, an officer and a town sewer department worker lifted the top of the concrete sewer cover and pulled the dog out.

The dog was uninjured, police said.

“The dog was scared,” said the sewer work, Bob Smith. “It had to have been in there for quite a while. I don’t know how it got in there, if it was chasing something or if it was just a curious young pup.”

Mr. Smith said the dog appeared to be a lab mix and was white with a bit of brown on its face.

“It was a cute dog,” he said.

The dog was standing in the water when they pulled the cover off, Mr. Smith said.

“It wasn’t that deep,” he said. “It was really only a couple feet. The dog was just young and couldn’t jump out.”


02/05/13 1:55pm
02/05/2013 1:55 PM


The Town Board on Tuesday agreed to donate land for a new town animal shelter and to offer preference to town residents and Sandy victims to live in downtown’s new subsidized Summerwind housing complex.

No specific site for the land to be donated to the Riverhead Move the Animal Shelter nonprofit group was mentioned in a resolution approved by the board at its meeting Tuesday. The MTAS group is raising money to build a new shelter in town.

As for the Summerwind vote, it passed 4-0 with Councilwoman Jodi Giglio abstaining since she is part owner of the project.

The town also held a hearing on proposed animal control regulations that would, among other things, give the town discretion as to whether to accept surrendered dogs at the town’s existing animal shelter. These regulations are meant to conform with North Fork Animal Welfare League rules, as the nonprofit human group prepares to take over the town shelter on March 1.

The board also rejected, 3-2, a resolution to re-send to Suffolk County planners a zoning change proposal that would allow for a Concordia-owned assisted living facility on Mill Road property in Riverhead.

Board members approved a resolution to name two new town ballfields in Calverton after two fallen soldiers from Wading River.

The board took up other items as well. News-Review reporter Tim Gannon blogged live from the meeting. Click below to see what he had reported.


Riverhead Town Board agenda 02-05-2013 by

01/15/13 6:50pm
01/15/2013 6:50 PM

The Riverhead Town Board on Tuesday night unanimously approved the transfer of $104,000 from town reserves to fund beefed up police protection downtown.

Another measure to transfer $400,000 from reserves to pay for costs associated with a new town police contract was also approved at the Town Board meeting, with Councilwoman Jodi Giglio voting against the move.

As expected, the board also OK’d a lawsuit settlement with Taste of Country, a farm stand on Sound Avenue that had been operating as a deli.

The meeting ended about 8:30 p.m., a half-hour before polls closed in the special election for county Legislature, a race in which Supervisor Sean Walter is the Republican candidate.

News-Review reporter Tim Gannon reported live from the meeting in Town Hall. Click below to see what else happened.

(Also visit riverheadnewsreview.com at 9 p.m. for live election coverage.)


Riverhead Town Board agenda 01-15-2013 by rnews_review

12/25/12 1:13pm
12/25/2012 1:13 PM

SPCA COURTESY PHOTO | The two abused pit bulls dropped off at the Riverhead Animal Hospital last week.

The hunt is on for the person responsible for dumping two pit bulls in a window well at the Riverhead Animal Hospital overnight Dec. 18.

The Suffolk County SPCA is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for dumping the puppies, who were suffering from severe mange and were near death.

SPCA Chief Roy Gross said examination revealed the mange was so severe on the male that its skin was peeling off.

“These puppies are going to require extensive veterinary care before they can be adopted,” the SPCA said in a press release. “The male is receiving intravenous fluids because he is too weak to eat or drink.”

“This is a blatant act of cruelty and abandonment and we will do everything we can to see that those responsible are apprehended,” Chief Gross said.

Anyone with information can contact the Suffolk County SPCA at (631) 382-7722.  All calls will be kept confidential.

The puppies are now being cared for by the North Fork Animal Welfare League, P.O. Box 297, Southold NY, 11971. Donations to help with their care are much appreciated and should be made to the above address directed to the Nick and Noel Guardian Angel Fund.