A Schenectady man who owns a kennel in Otsego County said state police seized several dogs from the facility because they appeared undernourished.
Frank Popolizio — who owns rental properties in the city of Schenectady that have been cited for code violations, including a structure in which a man died following a fire in December 2010 — confirmed Monday that state police in Sidney removed dogs from his Worcester kennel, known as South Side Dogs.
State police did not return a call for comment. There was no arrest report for Popolizio as of Monday afternoon.
Published reports said police removed approximately 26 dogs from the kennel last week, with assistance from the Susquehanna SPCA. The Susquehanna SPCA on its website said it is assisting state police in “a situation with a local breeder,” but would not provide additional details.
Popolizio said a disgruntled former employee of South Side Dogs made a complaint to authorities about the dogs, which he raises for sale. The kennel sells German short-haired pointers, Rhodesian ridgebacks, vizslas and Weimaraners, all of which are registered with the American Kennel Club, according to the website. The kennel is also licensed by the state Department of Agriculture.
Popolizio said some of the dogs started to lose weight after the kennel switched to a new dog food label. When he became aware of it, he and the caretaker started feeding the undernourished dogs more frequently, he said.
“We always did a great job and always had everything in order with the state and the AKC,” he said. “There are rumors going around that I have 130 dogs and that they were living in burrows. That is not the case. I have 78 dogs and they live in dog houses and heated kennels,” he said.
“I take full responsibility for the dogs, and my intentions are to make everything better. There is no abuse up there where technically no one cared for the dogs,” Popolizio said.