“We were getting inundated with calls,” Racicot said. “Hundreds and hundreds of calls were coming in.”
PREVIOUS LEGAL TROUBLE
Mary Kleber of Plattsburgh said the uncertainty regarding conditions at Northern Puppies goes back more than a year.
Kleber, who breeds miniature schnauzers, had brought four puppies to the shop soon after it moved to Plattsburgh Plaza from its former Cogan Avenue location.
“She appeared to be a trustworthy businesswoman,” Kleber said of Mrs. Staley.
Mrs. Staley told Kleber she could not afford to buy the puppies outright, Kleber said, so she turned them over on consignment.
Soon after, she saw one of her dogs in a photo circulated on Facebook showing puppies at the shop playing in a pen covered in feces.
‘DIDN’T SHOW FOR COURT’
Kleber said she confronted Mrs. Staley in an attempt to take back the two puppies, but Mrs. Staley refused.
Kleber took her to Plattsburgh City Small Claims Court in May 2012.
Mrs. Staley failed to show up for court, and the judge ruled in Kleber’s favor, requiring Mrs. Staley to pay Kleber $250 for each of the puppies still in her care and $15 in fees.
Kleber said she never got the money.
And, she said, Mrs. Staley banned her from the store after she went to check on the pups.
“I didn’t even want the money; I wanted my puppies back.”
Kleber said she has attended every protest against Northern Puppies and intends to be present at all of Mrs. Staley’s court proceedings.
“I’ll never forgive myself for bringing those puppies up there,” Kleber said.
Sympathy for the puppies continues to spur public interest in the case.
Dozens of North Country residents searched tirelessly for the puppies when they disappeared, and local people have donated money to help cover vet costs.
Besides individual donations and the funds from Elmore SPCA, Smokey’s BBQ 911 in Bloomingdale gave $1,200 and Heath’s Auto Repair in Saranac Lake donated $200.
Racicot said everyone at City Police could not be more thankful for the public’s help in finding the lost pups.
“We did a good thing. The public did a good thing.”
— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report.