Created: 01/03/2014 11:57 PM WNYT.com
By: Dan Levy
SPRAKERS - State Police and at least one veterinarian were back on a Montgomery County puppy farm Friday night for at least the third time after numerous complaints about the dogs being kept out in freezing temperatures.
In public view on private property, the dogs of the Flat Creek Border Collies puppy farm in Sprakers can be seen frolicking in the snow, and now that temperatures are dipping into single digits and below zero on some nights, people in the community have become angry and outraged.
"Collies aren't Siberian Huskies and they're not sled dogs," says Eric Bellows, an animal rights activist, who lives near the Rappa Road farm, "They can take the cold but this kind of cold is on a whole other level."
Bellows also thought the plastic barrel shelters were inadequate.
"Plastic Barrels have no insulation, it gives them no protection what so ever," he continued.
A State Police investigator was on the property Friday night, along with a veterinarian, and after inspecting the facilities and examining the animals,they left, apparently satisfied that all the dogs were safe and healthy.
State Police also issued a statement earlier in the day vindicating the kennel owner:
"Several visits to the kennel have not revealed any violations of New York State Law or local codes. The Owner of the kennel has provided shelter, food and heated water as required."
"It's a terrible situation, it's a dastardly situation," opined Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R - Glenville) "They may be living up to the tip of the letter of the law, but certainly ethically and morally this is no way to treat animals."
Tedisco says, unfortunately, the Ag & Markets law pertaining to the treatment of animals is too vague.
Under the Minimal Standards of Animal Care, it reads: The temperature surrounding the animal shall be compatible with the health and well-being of the animal. Temperature shall be regulated to protect each animal from extremes and shall not be permitted to fall below ranges which would pose a health hazard to the animal.
"We can pass a law to try and put in every dimension possible of how you could be cruel to an animal but that would be impossible," Tedisco says. "It's just like anything else. We know when there is cruelty to animals and this is an illustration of what cruelty looks like in terms of animals."
The owner of the kennel, Hubert Weich, declined an on-camera interview, but said off camera he's sick and tired of being harassed by the accusations and by police inspections.
The issue has created a lynch-mob mentality in Montgomery County, both on social media and at the puppy farm where police say they have responded to numerous complaints of harassing behavior.
Police also say they will be back on the property to continue checking on the welfare of the animals.