The SPCA of Niagara has taken ownership of 64 Pomeranians that were seized Saturday from a woman who is due to appear in court tonight to answer charges that she was running a puppy mill out of her Lockport home.
SPCA Director Amy Lewis said most of the dogs are in relatively good condition and all should be well enough to be adopted. In fact, there might be more demand than supply; she said that in a three-hour period Monday,the shelter received 90 calls from people asking to be put on a waiting list to adopt one of the dogs. The animals range in age from two weeks to 9 years old.
The owner of the animals, Ellouise M. Magrum, 50, agreed to turn over the dogs in order to work out a solution that might get her a more lenient sentence and would be in the best interest of the dogs, Lewis said.
Magrum previously bred shelties and Pekingnese dogs for about 16 years, according to Lewis. She was not charged with animal cruelty in this case but does face a number of town code violations related to the business she was operating in her South Royal Parkway home.
“Though this was out of control, in a few weeks it could have been much, much worse for these dogs,” Lewis said. “The smell of urine and feces was overpowering.”
The dogs were found in the house and garage when Niagara County sheriff’s deputies were called to the residence on an unrelated juvenile issue at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Town of Lockport Building Inspector Brian Belson said Monday that the house will need to be scrubbed clean by a professional cleaning company before anyone can move back in.
Belson said the home has been a problem for years, but police were unable to enter the house without grounds for a search warrant.
“As soon as I got the call that night I knew exactly what house they were talking about,” Belson said. “She had shelties before and got rid of them. She’s kind of complied and just squeaked under, but this got out of control.”
According to a website, Magrum was running RCE Royal Poms, selling dogs for between $200 to $400 out of her home.
Belson, who called the site a “puppy mill,” said more than half of the house was taken up by dogs.
No kennels and no more than three dogs are permitted in a residential zone, and Magrum was cited for operating a kennel, operating a nonpermitted business, unsafe building and unsanitary conditions. She was additionally charged with the violations of harboring dogs, unlicensed dogs, failure to license dogs and excessive barking.
She is scheduled to appear in Lockport Town Court tonight.
Lewis praised the people who helped care for the dogs after they were removed from the home.
“It was an incredible turnout. We had four vet techs, a veterinarian and a whole slew of volunteers who are working on bathing the dogs,” Lewis said. “It’s really cute. We have some fluffy little baby Pomeranians who are being blow-dried.”
She said medical and behavioral evaluations are being done on the animals, but she expects all of them to be adoptable. Calls to adopt dogs and puppies and be put on a waiting list are being accepted at 731-4368.
The shelter also is looking for donations of puppy chow, puppy pads, newspapers and monetary donations at the Niagara County SPCA, 2100 Lockport Road, Wheatfield.