CNHI News Service
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — A desperate search was underway in this northern New York community Wednesday for 11 sick puppies abandoned by a pet store five days ago because the husband of the owner told police the store couldn't afford the veterinarian bills to treat them.
Police Chief Desmond Racicot said Michael Staley, whose wife owns Northern Puppies, released the dogs into the woods near a state park early Saturday morning, then called police to report a burglary at the pet store.
Officers found the store's back door forced open, but upon questioning of Staley, they said he admitted faking the burglary to cover up for abandoning 24 puppies.
Searchers found 13 of the dogs over the weekend, including several huddled together and curled up like little balls of fur.
"When you see how tiny and defenseless these puppies are it definitely pulls on the old heartstrings," said Racicot.
He said charges would be filed against the 36-year-old Staley, but for now, police were focusing on the search for the missing puppies. Scores of concerned residents were assisting in the search.
Staley's wife Tammy, 33, who is the licensed owner of Northern Puppies, was charged last month with 20 counts of animal cruelty in connection with what police said was the mistreatment of the store's kittens. Police said several were found in undersized cages caked with their waste.
Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak expressed outrage at the scheme to get rid of the sick dogs. He urged authorities to prosecute the perpetrators "to the fullest."
Details for this story were provided by the Plattsburgh, N.Y., Press-Republican.