A father and son were arrested Thursday after an investigation into 44 Chihuahuas and one dead dog found at the son’s home in Middlebury last week, the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office said.
Joseph C. Wenzel Jr., 54, of Middlebury, was charged with 44 counts of animal abuse and one count of false reporting. His father, Joseph C. Wenzel Sr., 77, of Batavia, was charged with 44 counts of animal abandonment.
The dogs were found April 28 in cages in the driveway of the son’s home after he called police and told them that someone had dropped them off. Investigators later determined that it was the father who had left the dogs there two days earlier after police came to his home in Batavia to check on a complaint of a dog barking.
Wyoming County Animal Control Officer Justa Goodell said all but eight of the dogs have since been adopted. A few of the dogs are awaiting surgery and have potential homes lined up.
The dogs were found matted with feces, stained with urine and in crates that were too small, Goodell said.
“I’m overwhelmed with what compassion there is in the community,” Goodell said of the people who have come forward to adopt and care for the dogs. “It’s just incredible.”
Goodell said four additional dogs were seized Thursday.
Joseph Wenzel Jr. was arraigned Thursday in Warsaw Town Court and was held on $10,000 bail. Joseph Wenzel Sr. was awaiting arraignment.