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01/11/14 5:25pm
01/11/2014 5:25 PM

COURTESY PHOTO |  Sue Condreras with her German shepherd Jesse, an experienced rescue dog that died Christmas night, just 11 days after receiving the Award for Canine Excellence as a Search and Rescue Dog.

A beloved German shepherd honored last month as a top search and rescue dog by the American Kenel Club died unexpectedly Christmas night, its trainer told the Riverhead News-Review.

Jesse, who spent her life locating missing people and visiting hospitals and nursing homes as a therapy dog, was 6.

Sue Condreras of Northville, who first met Jesse as a 4-month-old pup and who started training her at 1, said Jesse began vomiting and became very restless on Christmas Day. She rushed Jesse to East End Veterinary Emergency & Speciality Center in Riverhead. The vets discovered Jesse had Mesenteric torsion, a twisting of the intestines that is most commonly seen in German shepherds, according to web-dvm.net. It’s a fatal condition.

COURTESY PHOTO | Jesse with Ms. Condreras on a helicopter ready for a mission.

Ms. Condreras made the difficult decision to have Jesse euthanized.

In Jesse’s memory, a memorial fund has been started to raise $10,000 that will go toward the training of another dog to follow Jesse’s footsteps. Nearly $2,000 has been raised so far for the Long Island K9 Search and Rescue, Inc. Pat Sondgeroth of Riverhead, one of Jesse’s owners, said Jesse’s memory will live on through the memorial.

“We miss her terribly,” Ms. Sondgeroth said. “But there’s a lot going on to remember her.”

Eleven days before Jesse died, she received the 2013 Award for Canine Excellence from the American Kenel Club in Orlando, Fla. at the Eukanuba National Dog Show.

Jesse had endured plenty in the rigorous work of a search and rescue dog. She suffered two herniated discs in her spine during a training session that led to a six-month rehabilitation process. Her first rescue mission back from the injury took her to New Jersey, where she located a missing hunter.

Lisa Peterson, an American Kennel Club spokesperson, told the News-Review in August that Jesse typifies the tenacity of her breed.

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

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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.”

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07/23/12 2:00pm
07/23/2012 2:00 PM

VERA CHINESE FILE PHOTO | Joseph Catalano holds his 4-year-old chihuahua Spartacus last year in the backyard near where the dog’s brother Agadore was mauled to death.

A Wading River woman whose dog allegedly dragged her neighbor’s pet Chihuahua through a hole in their fence and killed it last July has been given a conditional discharge on a civil petition filed against her by Riverhead Town, officials said.

Joanne Peters was sentenced on the condition that her dogs were “properly confined and kept on her property,” said town attorney Robert Kozakiewicz.

“Basically, it’s a confinement order, for lack of a better word.” he said. “If they’re off the property they have to be leashed.”

She did not pay a fine, Mr. Kozakiewicz added.

Last July, Wading River resident Joseph Catalano said he was relaxing on the deck, when he saw his pet dog, Agador, investigate a banging sound near the fence between his and Ms. Peter’s property. Mr. Catalano said Ms. Peters’ dog pulled Agador through the fence and ripped out the dog’s throat.

“I saw Agador’s feet being dragged through the fence,” Mr. Catalano said in an interview last year. “It was like something out of a horror movie.”

Ms. Peters, who said she adopted the dogs in response to burglaries in her home, said the animals were on her property and that the Chihuahua must have wandered over through the “dilapidated” fence.

This was not the first incident involving Ms. Peters’ dogs, according to police records and neighbors.

Neighbors Diane and Dave DelVecchio filed a complaint with police in May 2010, when Ms. Peters’ mixed-breed dog killed a stray cat on their property, an animal Ms. Peters said she had cared for, according to police records.

Prior to that, the DelVecchios told police, the dog had also attacked their nine-pound Shih-Tzu, costing nearly $400 in veterinarian bills, paid for by Ms. Peters.

Another neighbor, Lisa Kroez, said the same dog had bitten her 22-year-old daughter in the spring of 2010, though she did not report that incident to authorities.

Ms. Peters faced a Dangerous Dogs petition, filed under New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets law by the town, which asked a judge to take action to ensure Ms. Peters’ dogs did not harm anything in the neighborhood.

Mr. Kozakiewicz said Ms. Peters took steps to “repair fences and made sure the dogs didn’t run” free in the neighborhood, which influenced the terms of the discharge.

According to deputy town attorney Bill Duffy, who handled the case, town police and code investigations got involved after the incident and investigated the claims of a dangerous dog.

“One of the dogs seemed fairly tamed,” he said. “The second dog, the pit bull mix, appeared somewhat aggressive when encountered inside its home.”

However, investigators determined the dog did not display signs of aggression off the property, he said.

If Ms. Peters violates the terms of the discharge within a year, she could be brought before the court again and charged with a new violation, Mr. Kozakiewicz said.

“It’s almost like a self-imposed probation,” he said.

In a recent interview, Mr. Catalano said he made repairs to the fence, and plans to file a lawsuit against Ms. Peters.

“I just want her to be responsible, because it went on for years,” he said. “This dog was tormenting the neighborhood.”

Mr. Catalano said if he wins the suit, he plans to donate any money he is awarded to local dog shelters.

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