Gorham, N.Y. - A puppy breeder from Varick who's been in trouble with the law before is planning to move his operation to the town of Gorham, a plan not everyone in town is happy about.
"We don't just produce as many puppies as we can, that's not our goal. Yes, we do have to do that but it's not the main reason we're in it. We're in it for the animals," says 26-year-old Curtis Martin who runs the operation which currently has nearly 200 puppies.
Curtis and his wife bought a piece of land in Gorham near the intersections of Lake to Lake Road and County Highway 247 where there's an old barn he plans on turning into a new puppy breeding facility. It would be a 27 mile move for the facility.
"We're in it for the long run and we want to take care of our animals, the main reason we're going through with this is for the well being of the dogs," he explains.
Curtis says the new facility will have more natural light and will include radial heating in the floors to make it a better environment for the dogs.
But a few years ago, the USDA cited Curtis' wife Jolene Martin with failing to provide veterinary care at the dog breeding facility in Varick. Curtis says the USDA told him some of puppies nails were too long, and that their fur was matted, indicating to them some of the dogs weren't being taken care of.
13WHAM's Chris Conte asked Curtis what he would say to someone who was questioning his opening of a new facility. He responded by saying, "I would say what to stop me from doing this? Why would you say that I’m not capable of taking care of (them), it's a family operation," he explained.
As far as the town of Gorham is concerned, Curtis' new facility meets all of their regulations. The town has received dozens of phone calls and emails from people who are upset over the proposal but as long as the plan meets buildings code criteria there is nothing they can do.
"We have no jurisdiction to look at some of the more emotional issues of this," explains Gorham Town Supervisor Fred Lightfoote.
Lightfoote says Curtis has gone above and beyond what the town has asked of him and as long as the New York State Health Department and New York State DEC approve the plan, the town will do the same.
"We have no choice but to approve this."