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18 Responses to “Ban Life on the Lot: Rochester’s Junkyard Dogs”

  1. Sile says:

    If these places “can’t afford” alarmed gates, maybe they shouldn’t be in business. Why not post a human instead of an animal? Oh, right. you’d have to pay the human as well.

    Dogs aren’t my favorite creature (we all have our preferences), but I dont’ like to see ANY animal mistreated, not properly cared for, and just used for the convenience of man.

    Thanks for exposing this.

    Btw, have you seen the donkey that takes up residence in a lot on Dewey (I think)? Who keeps a donkey in the city?

  2. ELF says:

    You can see them at that scrap dealer/auto place on East Main/Railroad St. near the Public Market too. That whole place is an embarrassing eyesore.

  3. John says:

    I like the Dewey Ave Donkey. He lives in a fenced in vacant lot, so he’s got a fair amount of space. I think he also winters somewhere else, because I never see him during the winter. He hasn’t come back yet, but I’m hoping he’ll be back in the next few weeks.

  4. Joel Helfrich says:

    The German Shepherd on the corner of Main and Railroad is in a lot with a Main Street address. If you have the address for the donkey on Dewey, I would appreciate it.

    I plan to testify about this issue to the City Council on Tuesday, May 14, at 6:30. If you would also like to speak to the City Council, call 428-7421 before 5:30 that day.

  5. Jeff says:

    If you believe that these animals are being treated in a way that is a violation of an existing law, or that the animals are being mistreated, did you contact the humane society? According to the city’s web site (http://www.cityofrochester.gov/animalcontrol/), that is the appropriate action for issues of potential animal mistreatment in the city.

  6. Joel Helfrich says:

    @Jeff: Yes, both The Humane Society and Rochester’s Animal Control were contacted. Both organizatiuons, however, support the law, but the fines are rarely levied. More often than not, businesses are warned. The hands of the law enforcement community are tied. The problem is that the laws are not adequate to protect dogs that deserve better lives — in fact, need human companionship — than to be stuck on hot or cold pavement for their entire lives. As long as the dogs have their water refreshed every 48 hours (and have food enough for 48 hours, even if they finish it or it is eaten by other critters), the law says that is okay. To me, that is unacceptable.

  7. chase tyler says:

    Just when you think you have it bad…

  8. Carl Laitenberger says:

    I have to say that I would rather find out more before making a judgement. My experience has been that animal lovers tend to react rather than think. As far as Ghandi is concerned, his opinion is interesting, but I wouldn’t accept it myself.

  9. Joel Helfrich says:

    @ Carl Laitenberger: Please let me know what you find out. And, furthermore, what person’s opinion would you accept?

    Note: if I am an “animal lover,” so be it, but do not accuse me of not “thinking” or else you might be accused of not feeling, nor caring, nor thinking deeply about the issue. I am “thinking” critically and creatively about how best to “react.”

    One thing, for example, that I would love to know: if the City Council, instead of spending $42,000/year to expel crows from City parks, was willing to give small grants to these businesses to install security cameras and alarm systems, would those businesses accept?

  10. Melissa says:

    Would you also be looking for public support at the meeting? This could also be worded similarly to the anti-tether laws in other municipalities in NYS

  11. Ada Simms says:

    One of my clients, a city resident, has a fenced in yard but no dog house. His dog would be outside very content for a few hours while the owner was in the house. Animal control paid him a visit and told him he had to have a dog house structure with specific measurements and material.
    It leads me to believe that Animal Control is picking and choosing who to issue summons to. If a resident home needs to have a dog house for a dog that lives in the home, I am sure the same applies to dogs that have no where to sleep except outside.

  12. Joel Helfrich says:

    @Melissa: yes, I need public support and will probably need to create an alliance to get this law (as well as some other initiatives) on the books.

  13. Joel Helfrich says:

    @Ada Simms: All residents and businesses that leave dogs outside year-round are required by law to have insulated shelter. See the organization PAWS: http://pawsofrochester.org/. The businesses visited by both Animal Control and Lollypop staff have shelter. However, this is the bare minimum of adherence to the law. Dogs, like many other animals, should not be living in isolation — and many animal behaviorists have stated as much.

    See the laws regarding dogs and shelter and food/water:
    http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAWS+&QUERYDATA=@LLAGM+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=EXPLORER+&TOKEN=35218373+&TARGET=VIEW

  14. Ada Simms says:

    “4) allow for
    effective removal of excretions, other waste material; dirt and trash.
    The housing facility and the area immediately surrounding it shall be
    regularly cleaned to maintain a healthy and sanitary environment and to
    minimize health hazards.”
    From your report I do believe the above would be a fitting violation that the city of Rochester would issue to the owners of these places.

  15. Joel Helfrich says:

    I do not disagree. However, both City animal control officers and HSUS officers have stated that they have checked out the locations and everything is a-okay. I disagree, especially with the assessment of Metalico. These dogs are always in close contact with metal, trash, and other debris — even the tiniest of pieces of glass and metal can get in their paws. And furthermore, there appears to be only one dog at Metalico now, which makes me wonder…. Lastly, there is the fact that most of these dogs will never feel grass under their feet or sit inside a house with a loving family.

  16. Joel Helfrich says:

    I meant Humane Society of Greater Rochester, not HSUS.

  17. Stacey says:

    Thank you for sharing this story Joel. It’s important for us to be the voice for these animals. These companion animals do not fair well in living conditions like this. The extreme temperatures, the isolation, the boredom, kills their spirit with each passing day. We have to require more for them. Hopefully, by publishing this story, people will begin to step up and speak out for the voiceless.

  18. Lincoln DeCoursey says:

    Yes the ideal role for a dog is as a pet but society has accepted working dogs for various roles and particular animals are bred and trained specifically for these purposes.

    Guard dogs augment other security measures, especially where open lots are involved. They protect property as well as the safety of people who otherwise may be enticed to trespass.

    I suspect that circumstances vary from case to case. There are reports of some dogs being kept in small cages during the day, but many guard dogs may enjoy the run of the shop during business hours, and likely enjoy significant human companionship at least six days a week.


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