Sixty Pomeranian dogs remained kenneled inside the home of a Town of Lockport dog breeder on Sunday after the human occupants had been forced to leave the condemned structure a day earlier.
“They’re still in the home,” said Barry Kobrin, the town’s dog control officer, who was visiting the home on South Royal Parkway periodically to care for the dogs. As for their condition, he said: “They’re not bad. They’re healthy, as far as I can see.”
“Certainly, every one of them needs to be looked at,” Kobrin said.
Preparations were under way at the Niagara County SPCA to accept the dogs today.
Meanwhile, Elly Magrum, 50, who runs Royal Canine Express Royal Poms out of the home, is scheduled to appear Tuesday evening in Lockport Town Court. She was charged with four violations of the town code: harboring dogs, unlicensed dogs, failure to license dogs and excessive barking.
Magrum and her family reportedly are staying with relatives.
The dogs were discovered Saturday afternoon by a Niagara County sheriff’s deputy and a state trooper investigating an unrelated complaint involving a juvenile.
“When they were investigating ... they were overcome with the smell of urine and feces in the house,” said Sgt. Gary May of the Sheriff’s Office. No criminal charges were filed, he said, though additional charges are pending action by the Town of Lockport and the SPCA.
The address has a history of citations for excessive barking, Kobrin said.
Neighbors said they often heard dogs barking but had no idea there were so many in the house.
“We knew they had dogs there. We didn’t know they had 60,” said Nick Cavalieri.
He said the odors from the dogs and dog feces were more noticeable in the summer. The odor and the barking made it uncomfortable for adjacent neighbors to enjoy their yards, despite the wooden fence surrounding the Magrum’s backyard.
Cavalieri said he went to the Magrums’ house one time and took several steps back when the door was opened.
“Their house reeks,” he said.
Neighbors made complaints to the town, they said, but the situation never seemed to improve.
“I couldn’t believe there were 60 dogs in there,” said one neighbor, who said only three or four dogs were seen at a time.
The split-level house, built in 1980, now has a bright pink notice of condemnation on the front door.
Brian Belson, the town’s senior housing inspector, did not return a call seeking comment Sunday.
“It’s uninhabitable by the residents,” Kobrin said.
“It’s condemned because of the smell. It’s overcrowded,” he said. “There may be disease there.”
The dogs range in age from newborns – the breeder’s website advertises some puppies born Dec. 27 – to 7 years old, Kobrin said.
They’re confined in kennels throughout the house, with the exception of the bathroom and bedrooms.
In a “nursery” room, seven female dogs with their litters are housed in separate kennels.
According to the breeder’s website, dogs are offered for sale at prices ranging from $200 to $900, plus shipping charges of up to several hundred dollars.
The site advertises “quality AKC (American Kennel Club) Pomerians” and notes an additional charge of $200 to $400 for “full AKC” dogs. An affiliation between the breeder and the American Kennel Club could not immediately be confirmed, however.
Kobrin said it’s an unfortunate situation.
“To her, it’s a business. To me, it’s a mill,” he said.