No regulations for pet boarders or groomers

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Charges are still pending against a dog groomer in Cheektowaga who authorities say allowed animals she boarded to live in filth and feces.

On Wednesday, investigators removed 18 dogs and four cats from a kennel in horrible conditions that they say took weeks if not months to accumulate. Saber, an 8-year-old Husky, stayed at TLC Grooming Plus over the Labor Day weekend. A veterinarian says Saber got a checkup on August 28, before his stay, and afterwards was so ill that he may not live.

Saber was returned to his owner, Dennis Potozniak, and since then has stayed at Town and Country Animal Clinic, where he has suffered seizures and had to receive blood transfusions. Potozniak says Saber was dehydrated.

“If you would have asked me on Labor Day evening, I didn’t think we were going to have him after that. I thought he was going to have to get put down because he was so sick,” he said.

The business owner, Tammy Pokigo, says she couldn’t keep up.

“I am overwhelmed. I’m one person and this is a big business.”

“When they first groom the animal, when they shave the animal, most of the urine and feces comes off. In this situation some of the dogs had feces that permeated the coat and attached itself right to the skin,” said Gina Browning with the Erie County SPCA.

Pokigo countered, “They weren’t living in poop for weeks and weeks and weeks. I clean it up on a daily basis, what’s in the run.”

The SPCA doesn’t expect charges to be finalized against Pokigo for a couple weeks. She tells News 4 she is still going to board new dogs this week, even though she won’t be getting her dogs back that were seized by the SPCA.

This story has pet owners on edge. News 4 contacted the Town of Cheektowaga, Erie County, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the USDA. All reported they do not license or inspect dog groomers or boarders.

In fact, other grooming and boarding business owners tell News 4 they’re not regulated at all by the government.

Saber’s owner hopes this story protects pets in the future.

“I just hope that if they’ve done something wrong I hope it’s corrected so that they can never do something like that again,” said Potozniak.

The SPCA is concerned Pokigo was also breeding dogs. They want to hear from anyone who purchased a dog at TLC Grooming. Call 716-629-3520.

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