Humane Society investigating viral video
Updated: Monday, October 21 2013, 08:13 PM EDT
Rochester, N.Y. - The Humane Society of Greater Rochester is investigating a viral video that allegedly shows a dog being mistreated in Rochester.
“That dog has definitely been abused, neglected—definitely,” said neighbor, Lori Berri.
The video shows a man spray a German Sheperd with a hose, then hit the animal with a rake three times. Neighbors said the man’s children shot the dog with the paintball gun before the camera started rolling. Shot on Wednesday, the video was uploaded to Facebook and a link emailed to Lollypop Farm Thursday.
About three minutes long, the full-length video was brought to Lollypop Farm Humane Society Monday morning. Investigators there said videos pulled from the internet do not hold up in court but with the original, they can move forward with their investigation.
Director of law enforcement at the Humane Society, Reno DiDomenico said, “Just like any other police investigation we have to interview witnesses, take statements, of course try to interview suspects and that stuff— It takes time.”
Berri said the video is proof of abuse they’ve witnessed on numerous times over the last year. “We were hearing it crying and barking all the time for hours and hours,” Berri said, “You know when a dog is distressed.”
According to Berri, she and several other neighbors called the Humane Society to report abuse. “It’s kind of heartbreaking to know that this is going on,” Berri said, “we could hear it, the dog was still crying and nothing was being done.” Frustrated, a group of neighbors shot the video from the upstairs window of the home next door and put it online.
Because of the ongoing investigation, the investigators with the Humane Society would not say if they’ve received reports of abuse at that home prior to the release of the video.
“It's just like child abused,” said Berri, “they are part of your family, abuse is abuse and that dog is a good dog.” Under state law, dogs are considered possessions. To take a dog from its owner, the Humane Society would need a warrant.
DiDomenico said, “We have to go through a process of providing proof to a court to show cause to seize the animal, just like any other property that the person would own.”
The German Shepard is still at the home on Resolute Street, in the care of its owner. At this point, DiDomenico said the man shown in the video is not cooperating with investigators and has refused to speak with them.
“That dog does need to be removed,” Berri said. “They don't deserve to have that dog. That dog is too good for that home and they should never have animals again”
Anyone with firsthand knowledge of the incident is encouraged to contact the Lollypop Farm law enforcement team at (585) 223-6500.