Nearly 100 Animals Removed From Albion Shelter
Animal cruelty investigators removed nearly 100 animals from a shelter in Albion, Orleans County, on Friday. The shelter, called "PAWS," has not been charged with any crime, and shelter officials tell YNN the decision to remove those animals was their own.
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YNN cameras were allowed inside Lollypop Farm earlier today to see those affected animals: 76 cats, 17 dogs, and one white pet rat. Folks on all sides of this story are stressing, this case does not rise to the level of animal cruelty. What it really is, they say, is a case of neglect.
"Too many animals for a small shelter,” said Alice Calabrese, Lollypop Farm president and CEO.
It's a tough time of year to be taking in almost 100 new animals.
"A hundred more mouths to care for and feed,” Calabrese said.
"Better now than in the summer,” she added.
If they had waited until summer, it might have been too late.
"I think if it had gone a long time and more cats came in, it would have gotten worse,” said Calabrese.
This isn't the first group of animals that has come to Lollypop from a troubled animal shelter. Just months ago, the Wyoming County SPCA unloaded a number of cats on Lollypop after a State Police raid shut that shelter down.
Still, this new crew of animals is not so bad.
"On the span of cruelty and not cruelty -- more towards the neglect side.”
And Calabrese says this time, the PAWS shelter in Albion realized it was losing control, and took action.
"PAWS' staff and board realized that they had too many, and they couldn't deal with it, and they reached out for help which I really applaud,” she said. “It was almost a relief that... that PAWS was asking for help."
We did visit the PAWS animal shelter earlier Friday, and we contacted board chairwoman Deby Dubitsky as well. She did not want to go on camera, but did release this statement:
"We are experiencing problems handling an increased volume of animals, particularly cats - as a lot of non-profit animal shelters are in these difficult times. When the board recognized this, we jumped on it right away."
"We will now regroup, and we are planning to remodel our shelter to accomodate our increased needs. This is an emotional time for the board members and staff at PAWS."
The board at PAWS knows it needs to change its ways, and is starting now.
In the meantime, those affected animals – dogs, cats, and one rat as well – will be available for adoption here at Lollypop Farm within the next few days.