After hundreds of complaints, photos that were shared thousands of times on social media, and a press conference by Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts urging the public that nothing observed had risen to criminal nature — reports surfaced on Friday that the dogs were taken away.
The Human Society had taken possession of the animals, which had been subject of an intense investigation spanning weeks.
Lyons Code Enforcement issued a stop work order to prevent the owner from maintaining a Kennel for Commercial Purposes, according to WHEC.
According to Sheriff Virts, the investigation is ongoing, and involves Lyons Animal Control, Code Enforcement, NYS Agriculture and Markets, and the Wayne County Humane Society.
Officials say that they have been inundated with complaints since the press conference.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Original Report – January 8th at 4:30 pm
State Police received more than 200 calls, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office received countless others.
All after residents became concerned about the safety and well-being of a dozen dogs, which were found in the frigid temperatures over the weekend.
On Monday, Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts held a press conference outlining his team’s response to this active investigation. Upset neighbors and area-residents took to social media, sharing videos and photos of the animal’s conditions, too.
Those complaints were levied against resident Robert Juliano. The Lyons man has been subject to an ongoing investigation involving animal cruelty complaints similar to those over the weekend.
District Attorney Michael Calarco spoke at the press conference, as well. He’s been an active part of the investigation. Virts said that animal control officers, who work under the district attorney, have been making regular visits to the property since the complaints began several weeks ago.
However, no formal charges have been filed.
This is largely due to the fact that the actions of Juliano do not rise to criminal level under current law, according to Calarco.
Virts said that as a pet owner, he’d hope that every person who owns a animal would be an A-level caretaker. However, Virts said that Mr. Juliano ranks significantly lower. “He’s more likely a C or D pet owner,” Virts added, pointing out that animal control officers have been working to educate Juliano on proper care.
He says the animals were taken inside after the last call to law enforcement. That said, animal control officers who checked over the animals noted that they were in good-enough health to not qualify criminal charges.
“It wasn’t a situation where we could just storm on the property and rescue the animals,” District Attorney Calarco added, while elaborating on the level required to prompt charges. “There was shelter readily available.”
“We’re going to continue monitoring this situation, and animal control officers are working to see how many of twelve dogs are licensed and vaccinated,” added Virts. He said that six of the animals are still pups, and when they reach 6-months-old — that is when licensing and vaccination is required.
Sheriff Virts said that his office, as well as the District Attorney’s Office would continue investigating.