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Bay Ridgeites call for investigation into alleged puppy mill

Assemblywoman Nicole Mallotakis (left), Liam McCabe (center), and neighbor Jack Latorre (right) at a Dec. 6 protest against alleged animal abuse on Bergen Place.
Photo courtesy of Liam McCabe

Dozens of Bay Ridge residents rallied outside of a Bergen Place home on Dec. 6, where neighbors claim squatters are operating an illegal and inhumane puppy mill, demanding an investigation into the alleged activity. 

“We are not trying to even approach the issue of squatting,” said Liam McCabe, a Republican district leader and the head of Verazzano Republican club, at Sunday’s protest. “Let us come in and rescue the dogs. You can’t say that you care about them while you are running an illegal puppy mill.” 

Local resident Jack Latorre said he has been trying to raise awareness of the alleged wrongdoings taking place at 6659 Bergen Place, where he reports seeing emaciated dogs, inhumane conditions and the backyard breeding of Great Danes, since earlier this year. 

“There are some issues with lack of heating in terms of the shed outside,” McCabe told Brooklyn Paper. “They are running an illegal puppy breeding business. And from what I see are decrepit conditions.”

Purported reports of mistreatment to the NYPD and the Mayor’s Office have resulted in no action against the accused breeders — despite a visit from the NYPD Animal Cruelty unit, according to McCabe. 

“I think that the guys living there are somewhat savvy,” McCabe said. “I think they know what they are doing … I think once they got wind we made some noise, they kind of clean up the mess and then go back to business.” 

The alleged dog breeders are said to be squatting in the foreclosed home between 67th Street and Wakeman Place and have been protected from eviction by the ongoing moratorium related to the pandemic, McCabe said. 

“The house is being occupied by squatters, which adds another layer of complexity,” McCabe told Brooklyn Paper. 

McCabe organized Sunday’s rally in front of the rumored puppy mill — where the alleged dog breeder told protesters he has received threats despite taking care of his pets.

“Two days ago, I came home to lighter fluid in my backyard,” said the accused Bergen Place resident, named Rayvon. “I take care of my dogs, each and every one of them. This is wrong. ” 

Nevertheless, eyes have turned to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office to investigate the case, according to McCabe, as the alleged offender could have potentially violated state animal cruelty laws. 

“We feel the city councilman and some of the local elected officials have tried their best,” McCabe said. “But this requires prosecutorial level intervention.”

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who has been elected to represent southern Brooklyn and Staten Island in Congress in January, joined ralliers Sunday and strongly supports efforts to investigate any wrongdoing at the Bergen Place home, according to the Republican club head. 

McCabe also launched a petition echoing the rally’s demand of an investigation into the alleged animal abuse that he expects will see traction reminiscent to the overwhelming support he has seen from Bay Ridge residents and pet lovers to end animal cruelty in their community.

“There is animal life that people are concerned about,” McCabe said. “I think that’s what brought a lot of attention out there.”

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office and Malliotakis did not return requests for comment.

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