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North Adams couple get probation for illegal dog breeding operation | Local News

ADAMS NORTH >> A city couple accused of running an unlicensed dog breeder operating out of their South State Street home have been sentenced to a year’s probation.

Alfred V. “Rick” Ostrowski, Jr., 54, and his wife, Susan Mekdeci, 57, will be banned from selling and raising animals and must allow probation officers access to their homes every 90 days.

The city animal control officer, city health and building inspectors, and law enforcement initially responded to a complaint on October 23, 2013 at Rick’s Quality Auto Sales on South State Street. There, authorities discovered 31 Labradors — including 10 hour-old puppies and two pregnant adults — in living conditions deemed unsafe.

In her report, animal control officer Carrie Loholdt described three outdoor kennels on the property that were undersized for the 14 dogs they kept.

When Loholdt and other North Adams officers attempted to enter the house, Ostrowski ruled them out, she said.

When he finally allowed officers in, Loholdt wrote that she found 17 dogs, including young puppies, under a heat lamp.

“They turned their house into a puppy mill,” Loholdt said.

Loholdt’s report repeatedly refers to a strong smell of feces and urine on the dogs and throughout the house and notes a lack of food and water.

Court documents say Ostrowski and Mekdeci were selling the dogs for at least $850 each.

The couple eventually returned the dogs, which were cared for by the Berkshire Humane Society, Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter and Northern Berkshire Cat Rescue.

In North Berkshire District Court on Friday, Ostrowski admitted sufficient facts on 31 counts of tying up an animal for a violation.

Mekdeci admitted sufficient facts on 31 counts of animal cruelty, 10 counts of unlicensed dogs, 10 violations of rabies vaccinations and one count of unlicensed kennel.

Each had 27 counts of tethering an animal for a violation dismissed at the request of the Commonwealth.

Contact Ed Damon at 413-770-6979.

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