Tonawanda News — WHEATFIELD — The first thing animal rescuers noticed was the smell.
Then it was the sound of barking dogs and a heartbreaking scene in the basement and second floor of a home on Royal Parkway South in Lockport.
“The upstairs rooms had been converted into doggie nurseries. If you can imagine rooms full of small pens and then pens full of small dogs, that was what we saw,” said Andrew Bell, executive director of the SPCA of Niagara. “It’s was a scary sight.”
Rescuers recovered 64 pomeranians from the puppy mill on Monday morning. The mill was first exposed on Saturday night, when Niagara County Sheriff’s deputies and state police went to the address to investigate a “juvenile complaint.”
The owners of the home, Ellouise Magrum, 50, has been charged with a Lockport town ordinance violation of harboring animals. The home has also been condemned by town building inspectors.
Officials said more charges are pending.
Pomeranians from Magrum’s home were available on one website for $500 to $1,000 depending on the age and their color.
Bell says the action of seizing the dogs also should be seen as a warning — and a lesson.
“We can make the lives of these animals better and send a message that this (puppy mill) won’t be tolerated,” he said. “It’s also a lesson to the public. If you’re looking for a new dog, adopt, don’t buy. You don’t know where the dog (you’re buying) is coming from and (puppy mills) like this are more common than you think.”
The good news, according to the SPCA, is that most of the rescued dogs are in “pretty good health.”
“Five or six of them are pregnant,” SPCA Shelter Director Amy Lewis said. “They are not as bad as they could have been. I’ve seen a lot worse. They’re a little scruffy, but pretty healthy.”