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Animal Welfare Horrible, Neglectful Rescue in Brooklyn

MissFormosa

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I know I have given out information about the Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn on here before, but until recently I hadn't physically been there. And it was awful. Just plain horrifying. Now I feel like a total idiot for even giving their information out. I feel so guilty and upset because I had written to people on Craigslist that were going to take their guinea pigs to a drop off at a pet store to take them to the rescue instead. That it was a better choice. I cannot express my personal grief when I think about those poor souls. I've seen better pet stores than this place!

I was very excited to find them as a source to adopt a guinea pig in Brooklyn, but until recently, we didn't have the need nor the room to do so. If you do a search on PetFinder for Brooklyn, you will see that some of the nearest shelters that have guinea pigs for rescue are in New Jersey. So when we needed to get a companion for Byron because I realized there was no reconciliation between him and living with Alton and Carlton, I knew where I could go.

And I did research too. I searched everything I could about them online. I read blogs and newspaper accounts. I watched their videos on the YouTube channel, I read the comments people left on their MySpace and Facebook pages, I searched this forum and GuineaLynx's forum. I couldn't find anything bad and decided prematurely and rather blindly that they were a good place to recommend. This turned out to be a very upsetting, heartbreaking case of when “internet meets reality”.

After visiting the rescue in the early evening, we went to the pet store in our neighborhood to pick up food and supplies and the guy who owns the store that knows us asked why I was upset and when we told him about the rescue, he said that they have called him before asking if he had any animals that they didn't need at the pet store and if so, if they could send them to the rescue. The pet store doesn't even sell animals!

And now that I think about it, the reason their adoptable rodent area was so awful and disgusting is because they are mainly a REPTILE rescue. I can bet they just feed the rodents to their snakes. No wonder they call around to other pet stores to see if they have any animals they want to give up! UGH! I am beyond disgusted.

I've already contacted PetFinder (they are listed on there), ASPCA, NY Humane Society, Animal Care and Control of NYC, NY's Animal Alliance, Maddie's Fund, NY Dept. of Agriculture and Markets, and reported 'Unsanitary Animal Facility Conditions' to the NY Department of Health. Did I miss reporting to anyone?

Here's what happened (I took most of this from my report):

My family including myself, my husband and two children had traveled to the Sean Casey Animal Rescue’s adoption facility (The Hamilton Dog House) to adopt a male guinea pig.

The first thing I noticed upon approaching the facility was a white metal parrot cage with a cockatoo inside. The cockatoo’s cage was placed in direct sun and no shade was made available to it. The bird was holding its beak and wings open in an attempt to try to cool itself. The cockatoo had patches on its body where it was missing feathers. However, it is possible that the bird may have been molting.

A few feet away, but still in front of The Hamilton Dog House facility, there was a small steal wire cage housing two young black and white cats. I walked up to the cage to visit the cats and noticed that in addition to being subjected to the hot, humid summer heat directly, their water bowl had tipped over and had been for some time. The water had evaporated, leaving residue rings where it had been on the hot metal floor of the cage. At least one of these cats had loose stools as evidenced by the copious amounts in their small litter box. Both cats had fresh feces on sections their fur and on their paws. I observed that some of it was dried and caked on. They were provided with a small bowl of moist canned cat food and it was being consumed by flies and other insects. Near these cages in front of The Hamilton Dog House, gathered on the sidewalk, the staff members of the rescue were having a barbeque type gathering. I told someone about the cats and they said they'd "get to it".

The second thing making me suspicious of neglect is that upon entering the adoption facility, I was hit with the strong stench of feces and the sour smell of canned food that has sat out too long. To put it bluntly, the place was filthy. There was to be found a combination of dust, animal hair, cat litter granules, pieces of dry food, and wood shavings on almost every surface in the facility. I observed in some areas rodent and rabbit feces were scattered on the floor and supplies. Additionally, the only air circulation in the building was provided by a small white oscillating fan placed behind the counter. The radio was playing loudly. The temperature was uncomfortably hot and the air musky and stale throughout the facility. The conditions were unspeakably unsanitary and this poses a definite health risk to the public and the animals housed there.

Located next to the front counter there were a variety of cats and kittens and a few small breed dogs and puppies in cages. To the best of my recollection, there were three small steal wire cages stacked on top of each other from the floor up with black plastic floor pans and a larger medium cage of similar type sitting on the floor next to the ones stacked up. Despite the configuration, the cages were overpopulated for the amount of space they offered and were offensive. Many of the litter boxes had not been cleaned and the feces were protruding openly from them. It would be difficult for a cat to utilize the box without getting feces or urine on their paws. The dogs had newspaper to eliminate on and these had been unattended to as well. In the cage housing a small puppy, I saw newspaper that was completely soaked through with urine and the puppy was lying without choice in direct contact with it. The animals were in need of grooming. I spotted an older, orange, longhaired cat that had drainage coming from its eye. Normally this would not alarm me greatly, but the drainage had been neglected long enough to form a dried crusty ridge along the cat’s eye and muzzle. The water and food appeared to have been given in the morning and not refreshed or replaced during the day, much of it soiled or spilled. The moist food they were given looked hard and dried at the edges. Flies were swarming on the food, the feces, and the animals. A cat housed at the top of the stack of cages was drooling from the mouth. In general, I thought the animals in these cages looked unclean and lethargic.

When I reached the area housing the rodents in the facility, I was met with disbelief. The first thing my daughter noticed and quickly pointed out to me was a Flemish Giant rabbit. The rabbit was the size of a healthy adult cat. It was being housed in a wire cage with a plastic floor pan that would be commercially sold for a smaller rodent, such as a small breed rabbit or a guinea pig. The cage was located on the bottom shelf of typical metal retail shelving. It was dark and offered little air circulation due to the fact that there was a shelf no more than two or three inches above the top of the cage. Additionally, because of the size of the cage, the rabbit would not have been able to turn to face the opposite direction without some difficulty. It certainly could not get up and walk around the cage, hop, or stretch. I also observed that the rabbit was lying in its own waste. The fur on the rabbits back feet were stained dark yellow and the nails needed trimming. In addition, the rabbit had no food available.

Because I had come to the Sean Casey Animal Rescue in the interest of adopting a guinea pig, I noticed more issues requiring attention pertaining to the guinea pigs than I did with any other animal in the facility. The guinea pigs were being housed in two separate wire cages on the same dark and dirty bottom shelf as the rabbit. One cage housed the boars and the other sows, although when I asked which cage held which, the person who appeared to be working there acknowledged that she couldn’t help me. She stated, “I don’t know. I am just a volunteer here. Oh please take them. Look at them, poor babies. Look at them. It’s a shame, isn’t it?” These cages were identical in size and type to the one the rabbit was being housed in. I got down on my knees and visually tried to figure out which sex was in each cage. There were four adult boars located in the cage on the left and six adult and one young adolescent sow in the cage on the right. As a responsible guinea pig owner, it is my understanding that a single guinea pig must have a minimum of 7.5 sq ft of space in order to meet their basic needs. Here the guinea pigs shared a space smaller than the basic requirement for one. There was a small amount of pellet type food in the bowl in each of the cages, but no hay was provided. Guinea pigs require hay at all times not only as an important nutritional element in their diets but also for proper intestinal function and to keep their constantly growing teeth ground down by chewing. Additionally, I saw no vegetables offered which is another important part of a guinea pigs diet since they cannot produce their own vitamin C and can develop scurvy. The water bottles were dirty and almost empty. I felt one of the bottles attached to the cage housing the sows and it was warm indicating to me that they had no fresh water at that time. When I peered into the cage housing the boars, I saw that one dark brown boar had a heavy discharge from his eyes and around his nose. One eye was so crusted with dried discharge that it was nearly sealed shut. I then observed that several other guinea pigs in both cages had dried discharge around their face as well. In the boar’s cage an orange and brindle colored adult was lying on his side and seemed to have labored breathing. This indicates to me that these guinea pigs are suffering with upper respiratory infections, which in guinea pigs are usually always fatal without proper and immediate medical treatment and is highly contagious. All of the guinea pigs in both cages were huddled together closely and seemed scared. I was able to get a few of the sows to move away from the group in their cage and I saw that one white, pink eyed adult was drooling and her tongue was hanging slightly out of her mouth. She most likely has a malocclusion and this is an obvious sign of neglect of the part of the Sean Casey Animal Rescue.

There were two sows housed in a small wire hamster cage with a plastic pan bottom two shelves above where the other guinea pigs were housed. My husband saw these guinea pigs and was able to find a staff member to ask about them. The staff member told him that they had just arrived at the shelter the previous morning. We noticed that they had no food and my husband inquired why. The man disappeared for a few moments and came back with a bowl of food. The food in the bowl was not guinea pig food. To me, it resembled parrot food. It contained nuts and seeds, which are a choking hazard for guinea pigs, and unsafe little colored kibbles mixed in with pellets. When I said that they shouldn’t have that food, the staff member exclaimed, “Oh, they’ll love this stuff!”

The rodent area of the facility also housed many of the smaller animals including mice, hamsters and gerbils. These were kept in plastic cages or small glass enclosures placed on the floor or on the shelves above where the rabbit and guinea pigs were located on the bottom of the shelving unit. Most of the small glass enclosures had been stacked haphazardly one on top of the other. There was a glass cage containing hamsters stacked perfectly on top of another of the same size allowing for no air circulation or ventilation in the cage containing a few mice under it at all. Furthermore, the animals were severely overcrowded and the living conditions grimy. I observed in the cage housing some mice a dead or near to death mouse that was being trampled by the many other mice scrambling about in there. Next to the mice, there was a large open garbage bag full of used wood shavings sitting on top of some of the cages and enclosures located on the floor still housing live animals. Of these, my daughter pointed out to me a small glass cage that housed a single gerbil. The gerbil was bleeding from or had fresh blood around its eyes. There was no bedding or food provided for this gerbil. The water bottle that was attached was bone dry. He was frantically trying to climb the empty water bottle to escape and appeared to be in definite distress and suffering from injury or illness. The rodent area as a whole had a strong ammonia smell.

The Hamilton Dog House doubles as not only an adoption center for the Sean Casey Rescue but as a pet supply store as well. The pet supplies were strewn about in an unorganized manner and it was impossible to tell what items were for sale and what items were being used by the rescue. In any case, I would not consider purchasing anything there as it was covered in filth.

The Hamilton Dog House also houses facilities for larger breed dogs, but I did not see or observe them. I heard barking and it sounded like it came from the basement of the facility. There is a dog run yard on the side of the facility, but it was not being used while we were present. Additionally, they house reptiles which I also did not observe.





Can you believe it??? Help me do the right thing to correct this. :ashamed:
 

MapleSyrup

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Argh... How disgusting! How can these people celebrate, even call themselves a shelter with these animals in appalling conditions? They must formed this "shelter" for a profit or get some sort of publicity for "saving" animals. ...I hope the Animal Cruelty Police have plans to come there for a seizure to actually save these poor animals and to do criminal justice against these people who call themselves a "shelter". You did the right thing by contacting these places.
 

Peggysu

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Hopefully they do something about this. That's disgusting. Sounds like the local cat rescue where I live.
 

pigsmakemesmile

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I'm at a loss for words.
 

Ibbet

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Oh my goodness, how horrible! Those poor poor animals.
I'm really at a loss for words right now.
You did the right thing by reporting them and I hope something gets done about this.
 

sirigirl92

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Me and my friend Melanie (her name on here is Cheesecake) both went to sean casey a few months ago to adopt piggies. When I looked in the little cage they were all being housed in, i said ughh....no thanks >.>
Instead I got two of the sweetest ferrets I have ever met in my life, who were being held in a trap that is used to catch stray cats. I didnt see any dry food, and their water bottle kept falling off. I asked if I could hold them, and then I got on the phone, called my mother, had a 20 minute argument with her about adopting them, and then she finally agreed. Once I had held them I vowed that I wouldn't let them go back in that little rat trap.
Asuka was pregnant, and had two little boys. I had 2 girls, and i told mel that since my c&c cage was bigger then hers(she has a c&c cage, 2x5 with an upper level) that i could take both babies, or a baby and asuka. At the time, we thought the babies were both girls(she had missexed them). Once she realised her mistake, we immediately separated the boys from all our sows(she already had a girl before she got Asuka). So we traded, she gave me her origional sow Yui and i gave her Asuka's baby boy, the one who is my avatar. The trade is only temporary until we are able to get the boys fixed. But all of this is because the sean casey rescue eaiter a) missexed some boars/sows or b)they just didnt care.
And my ferrets names are Jack and Sally. Jack is a standard ferret, with the robber mask(he is quite sneeky) and sally is as white as snow! she was more yellow when we first got her tho >.>
anyway, they have a huge cage now, that was like 300$.
and on a side note, my mom like ended up hijacking them. The guinea pigs are my responsablity, and i do a darn good job.
my mom worked for a no kill shelter, and we have had many ferrets in the past, just never 2 at a time.
but they are as sweet as can be, and both were fixed already.
 
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sirigirl92

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Oh, Im sorry I didn't specify this. Melanie adopted Asuka. She was being housed with all of those other pigs, and i did not notice another cage for sows/boars.
And that cockatoos name is chicken. When we went, he wasn't in the cage, he was running all over the cat cages, and then ON melanie. Either he bacame ill after our visit, or he was just molting. Also when we went they had 3 or 4 tortouses(sp?) loose running around(as fast as they can go) on the floor. One kinda chomped on my foot. I thought it was a statue. and yeah, they were REALLY dusty. And it was kinda a dont ask dont tell sorta thing. They asked is we lived in the borroughs, we said no(we dont) and they forked over the animals. with an adoption fee, of course.
 

3piggymomma

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Wow... that is dispicable. I want to cry. You definitely did the right thing by writing that report and sending it to all of those organizations. I truly hope they read it thoroughly and go visit the place themselves to see the horrible conditions. That place needs to be closed down.
 

MissFormosa

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Am I losing my mind? I sure feel like I am.

I Googled today for "Sean Casey Animal Rescue", "Hamilton Dog House" and "Theresa Labianca (the listed owner)" and found NOT one bad thing about this shelter - even 10 pages into a search. I asked my husband again if I was sure we went to the right place and if I was losing my mind and he said that we did go to the right place and they probably just have a good publicity department.

I did look at some reviews and comments that have been supposedly left by people who have gone to the rescue and some of them seem almost too perfect and too similar, so maybe they do have a good publicity department or they generate their own publicity. I don't know.

I almost feel like going there again just to make sure I am not crazy. I wish I had been smart enough to whip out my camera phone. The camera doesn't make noise when you take a picture, it has a camcorder, and the lense is on the back, so if you just look like you're texting it doesn't look like you are filming! I feel like an idiot. I just don't know if I could handle it again.

I'm so confused.

And I'm feeling like even more of an idiot now too. I had sent the rescue a letter yesterday detailing what I saw and how outraged I was at the neglect and mistreatment. I felt they should know how the community feels. I added (without thinking) that I believed an investigation is in order for their establishment for the sake of the animals there.

Well, today I find out that there will be an investigation done by the state and I told my husband all excitedly and he said not to tell anyone because they could clean up their act before the people get a chance to investigate them...so I feel like since I told them I think they should get investigated and since I posted on here and it will come up in internet searches, they will clean up before getting inspected, pass the inspection, and then go back to neglecting the animals. UGH. I could just kick myself.

Am I doing this all wrong? Am I crazy? How could it be that there is not one bad thing about them on the internet?? I know what I saw! I am an emotional wreck. I just try to do the best I can.

Any thoughts??
 

Emberlyn

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It's really popular of places to flood the internet with positive things about people/places. There's even organizations you can pay to do it. A lot of people before going up to really high-end jobs get this done in case their employers run into their personal sites and such. That's probably how that happened.

That's so sad. Wow. :(
 

3piggymomma

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Take a deep breath. You did all you could do, and you did the right thing by notifying the state and other organizations. And from what you described, I doubt they would be able to clean up their act completely no matter how hard they tried. It doesn't seem like they know a thing about caring for animals, nor do they care to learn. Just try to wait it out and see what happens.
 

ameyjaney

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I am shocked at that rescue...poor animals. MissFormosa, you have done everything you could possibly have done and I sure hope that justice is served.
 

sophistacavy

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Rest assured, you have done everything you possibly could've done.

I certainly don't know exactly how you feel, but I have had that feeling of wondering if I'm going insane before. You feel like you're losing your mind, but you are not. Like the user above said, there are services that people can use to pretty much make themselves look like the best of the best. Also, some sites can monitor user reviews, and they can only accept and then publish ones that promote them.

I would also suggest going to PETA for help. They have a form you can fill out for only animals that are in immediate danger. This is it here: About PETA >> Contact PETA

If the local authorities aren't enough, then perhaps PETA can either light fire under their "behinds", or give that little extra kick that can shut that place down for good.
 
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BKPiggies

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I have dealt with them in the past but never at the facility. I guess it was before they opened at this location. From what I have seen, it is a sad place. When I was there today, the animals were hot and sickly looking. I checked on the parrots and they were asking 500 for a macaw. I have had better luck with Robert at social tees in the east village. the place is not fancy and they do the best they can to keep the animals clean and well provided for.
 

xERICx

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Oh, how awful! Those poor animals.
I'm glad you reported them, lets just pray something gets done about that horrible place.
I hate how the call themselves a rescue when the animals clearly need rescued from them.
 

MissFormosa

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I have dealt with them in the past but never at the facility. I guess it was before they opened at this location. From what I have seen, it is a sad place. When I was there today, the animals were hot and sickly looking. I checked on the parrots and they were asking 500 for a macaw. I have had better luck with Robert at social tees in the east village. the place is not fancy and they do the best they can to keep the animals clean and well provided for.


Well, I'm glad someone else thought it was bad! I was beginning to believe, due to all the rave reviews on the internet, that I had imagined the whole thing or been overly critical. Now I feel better. Yes, the animals are sick. Did you see the gerbil that was bleeding from his eyes? I hope either they got him help (which I doubt) or he passed away quietly in the night. Did they still have all those sick pigs in the small cages? And the huge Flemish Giant rabbit also in a small cage? Their rodent area made me sick. I know, I just know in my heart, they don't take care of the rodents because that is free food for the reptiles, since they do advertise themselves as a reptile and snake rescue. Ugh!!!!
 

MissFormosa

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I'll definitely check out Peta. I hadn't thought of that.

I wonder if I should contact the New York District Attorney Division of Social Justice. They regulate not-for-profit organizations and will investigate inappropriate use of funds. Apparently, this place is not using funds to care for the animals. I guess it wouldn't hurt to send a complaint.

Hmmm...I also wonder if posting a few things on those complaints websites would at least get some negative reviews of the rescue out there for when someone does a search, like on Google. When I was researching this place online I couldn't find one bad thing and ended up seeing something very awful when I went. Maybe I can help other people read both sides and make up their minds as to whether they should support them or not. What do you think of this idea?

Say, can I make a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, even if I have not purchased anything? Or do you have to be an actual consumer to do so?

Anyone think of any other things I could try?

I'll do whatever it takes, darn it, to help those poor animals. When animals become pets, they depend on everything from us - clean water, good food, comfortable shelter, love and care - and I am going to make sure these animals at least get decent treatment. That is the least they are entitled to. This is wrong!
 

MissFormosa

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It's really popular of places to flood the internet with positive things about people/places. There's even organizations you can pay to do it. A lot of people before going up to really high-end jobs get this done in case their employers run into their personal sites and such. That's probably how that happened.

That's so sad. Wow. :(

Yeah, it's really crazy. I'd never seen anything like this before.

Any of the blogs and reviews I looked at that mentioned the Sean Casey place had perfect reviews, but now I have noticed after going back over all this that all of the blogs require that the moderator approves the comments before posting. How odd. You'd think at least one blog would have a negative comment here and there. For every couple of consumers, there is always someone with a negative experience. I believe Sean Casey does the Kensington and the Ditmas Parks blogs, just from the content and the 100% perfect comments.

The pictures they show on their MySpace, Facebook, and own website do not show the adoption facility at all. Hmmmm...that should have rung a bell.

I surely bought into it before going thinking it was going to be a great place and we would slap down our $10 and take home the pig of our dreams. Ha! What an illusion.

Shame on them. They are fooling people.
 

MissFormosa

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Ugh...I hope I haven't sabotaged my own efforts. I really wanted a proper investigation done.

I received a response to the letter I sent to Sean casey. He said that in the 10 years he has been doing rescues, he has never received a letter like mine and that the conditions on the day that I visited are not typical of the facility.

On a positive note...he handed out a copy to each of his staff member and discussed every aspect of my letter. He said he would address every one of my statements to correct them. Let's hope he holds up to his word.
 

Peggysu

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He said that in the 10 years he has been doing rescues, he has never received a letter like mine and that the conditions on the day that I visited are not typical of the facility.

From what you are describing it doesn't sound like it's something that happened over night. It's going to take a lot to clean this place up. I'm sure with your complaints to other places that it can hopefully be fixed, but if it doesn't just know that you did all you could do.
 
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