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Snow, 18 months, is being cared for at the Sonsini Animal Shelter in Pittsfield.

31 Dogs Rescued From North Adams Property

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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This little guy was rescued after health inspectors and the animal control officer found he was living with 30 others in poor living conditions.

Update on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 6:49 p.m.:

Police Director Michael Cozzaglio said the police are conferring with the district attorney's office on "numerous charges" that are pending with the owner. "We have 31 animal cruelty charges," he said.

Update on Friday, Oct. 25, at 6:59 p.m. with comments from Berkshire Humane Society: The Laboradors taken from an alleged puppy mill on Wednesday already have a stack of applicants looking to adopt them.

The Berkshire Humane Society took in nine of the mostly yellow Labs and says its has 30 adoption applications.

"We will contact those families for meet-ups as they are processed. Thank you everyone for your interest!," the society wrote on its Facebook page early Friday. (We have a call into the shelter.)

"We've had 50-plus phone calls but we have a waiting list we go through," said Executive Director John Perreault later Friday afternoon.

Perreault said "probably within the Bekshires this is not typical" in getting so many animals at once. The good thing, he said, was that the shelter had the room when the call came in.

He described the Labs as all being in "pretty good shape" with some minor ear and skin infections. They were all bathed and vaccinated and two have already been neutered.

Some are outgoing, some are shy, but none have had any familiarity with leashes or collars.

"They have 8-month-old bodies but are more like 8-week-old puppies," said Perreault. "We have to pick them up and carry them to where we need them to go."

The dogs should all hopefully be going to their new homes by the end of next week.

The director said too many people think purebreds have no effect on pet overpopulation, but it's not true.

"One out of every three dogs in a shelter is a purebred," he said.

There are now more than 50 applications to adopt one of the nine Labs, but there are also two Chihuahuas, an Australian cattle dog and a black Lab mix, as well as five other dogs, at the shelter who need homes.

Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter Director Laurie Vilord said her shelter took a mother with 10 newborns and five 1- to 1 1/2-year-old dogs. She said the private, non-profit shelter will find foster families for the younger dogs until they are ready for adoption; the mom and puppies will be cared for at the shelter.

"We don't adopt out any animals that are not spayed or neutered," she said. Asked to comment if there were difficulties in taking in animals like this in an emergency, she responded: "That's what we do."

The shelter is need of donations of food and other supplies to care for the animals. You can donate through their wish list on Amazon.

Northern Berkshire Animal Rescue (also operating as Great DANE Rescue) is accepting donations through PayPal to aid in costs for sheltering and caring for two of the pregnant females that will give birth soon.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Local animal shelters have taken in 31 Labrador retrievers that were surrendered after the health inspector and animal control officer deemed the living conditions were unfit for animals.

Carrie Loholdt, the city's new animal control officer, joined two of the city's health inspectors on an investigation into complaints regarding a local dog breeder. Upon arriving at the residence, the three found 31 dogs — significantly more than expected — living in poor conditions.
The owner surrendered the dogs and volunteers swarmed North Adams to help find places for them. Kaila Drosehn, from the Northern Berkshire Cat Rescue, help coordinate and within an hour, volunteers from the Berkshire Humane Society and Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter were on scene. 
"Our pound is only able to hold four dogs," Loholdt said on Thursday. "We were trying to find out where to take these dogs and both shelters came out with two vans each and crates."
A total of 10 puppies — some only a few hours old — were rescued and some of the other dogs were pregnant. Loholdt has the pregnant dogs and the shelters took the rest. 
But, Loholdt said removing that many dogs was a daunting task. She went into the inspection only expecting to have to remove a few animals. On Thursday, she couldn't say enough about the volunteers who helped care for the dogs in less than four hours.
"It was an unbelievable day. It went so smoothly," Loholdt said. "I'm amazed. I would not have been able to do it alone."
More than a dozen people assisted, including two police officers, about seven volunteers from the shelters, Police Director Michael Cozzaglio and the city health inspectors.
Some of the dogs were taken directly to Keith Beebe at Wahconah Veterinary Hospital and others were seen by the vets at the other shelters. The dogs will all be treated for any health issues, spayed and neutered, and then put up for adoption.
"Every one will be adoptable after they get spayed and neutered," Loholdt said. "They are all going to be looking for homes."
The breeder voluntarily surrendered the dogs and Loholdt is still sifting through the investigation. She did not say whether the breeder would be facing any criminal charges.
Loholdt did not release the name of the breeder but the police log recorded that an officer was requested to assist the animal control officer and health inspector at Rick's Auto Sales. The property, next to the Time Warner offices on Hodges Cross Road, has had a Labradors for sale sign out front for years.

Tags: animal control,   animal rescue,   animal shelter,   dogs,   domestic animals,   

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Pittsfield Woman Pleads Guilty to Larceny

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Heidi Kushi pleaded guilty in Superior Court for two counts of larceny and was sentenced to state prison.  
On Monday, Jan. 30, Heidi Kushi, 57 years old of Pittsfield, pleaded guilty in Superior Court for two counts of larceny by single scheme. She was indited in July of 2019. 
The defendant was sentenced to 2 to 5 years in state prison, both counts concurrent, by Judge Agostini. 
Kushi, who began working for Donovan Construction in June 2013 as their accountant/bookkeeper, stole $138,772.72 during her time at the company. From June 1, 2013, to the date she was terminated, April 27, 2018, Kushi overpaid herself totaling approximately $38,000. From 2017 the date of termination, Ms. Kushi used the Donovan Construction bank account to pay off credit cards including cards in her elderly mother's name with the defendant identified as an authorized user. 
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