Protesters – some with their dogs by their side – gathered Sunday outside a Bay Ridge home that is suspected of housing an illegal puppy mill.
As first reported by PIX 11, neighbors have suspected for several months that squatters were running an illegal operation at an abandoned residence on Bergen Place and 67th Street.
Jack LaTorre, who lives on the block, told PIX 11 he has heard two Great Danes barking at night in an unheated backyard shed.
“It’s a horrible situation,” LaTorre said. “It’s the only time in 26 years I’ve been on this block that I wish I didn’t buy the house.”
Congressmember-elect Nicole Malliotakis, who attended the protest, said there are concerns that the squatters might be breeding dogs without a license and abusing them as well.
“I join the community in asking for a full and thorough investigation into these allegations,” Malliotakis said.
Liam McCabe, who organized the protest, said it’s time for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to investigate the premises.
“That’s been the one thing holding action back,” McCabe said. “The inability to get in there, take pictures, record and investigate properly. Then you can get those dogs removed.
“Now that it’s getting colder, we are very much concerned about these animals, especially the ones that are being kept in the shed in the back.”
Councilmember Justin Brannan said his office has been working with the residents of Bergen Place for several months and that he has been in contact with the DA’s office.
“We believe there may be violations of both statutes of the New York State Aggravated Cruelty to Animals law at this location,” Brannan said.
The NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad has visited the block, as have the Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare, the NYC Department of Health, the Buildings Department and the 68th Precinct. Brannan has also contacted NYCLASS, the ASPCA and PETA and is asking residents to send messages directly to the Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare at https://rb.gy/prlivt.