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For nine months, Dr. Kennisha Gilbert contacted authorities about a case of animal neglect in her upstairs tenant’s apartment. But even with video evidence, no one came to help the landlord and OB-GYN physician. The situation only got worse as time went on. She reported excessive barking, an ammonia stench coming from upstairs, and urine leaking through the ceiling.
When Gilbert’s social media pleas finally caught the attention of the police and ASPCA, they discovered the horrific truth. At least 20 dogs were found in deplorable conditions, forced to keep breeding. When the tenant was caught, he was furious at Gilbert and did the unthinkable.
Apartment Puppy Mill Shuts Down
When the cops and ASPCA finally took action, they found 20 dogs and puppies crammed into the New York apartment. Most dogs were shoved into crates together while others were chained to the floor. Officials guess that the dogs were kept this way 24/7, forced to rest in their own feces. They removed the dogs from the home immediately.
“It was clear these animals were living in terrible conditions and needed to be immediately rescued and brought to safety,” said Howard Lawrence, Vice President of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement.
Ravon Service and Tafaniel Michaud were arrested for torturing and neglecting animals. Gilbert says that Service’s parents first lived in the upstairs unit in 2019, but she wasn’t going to renew their lease due to fighting and other issues. Yet, the pandemic caused them to stay longer. Then, Service later took over the apartment’s lease.
Suspect Seeks Revenge
When Gilbert arrived home from work one day, Service was waiting for her with several relatives for backup. He was furious that his dogs were gone. Gilbert says that he tore off her windshield wiper and beat her with it, leaving a gash on her head. Then, he and his relatives proceeded to beat Gilbert and her husband. She says her kids were inside the apartment and could see the whole thing.
“I got beaten on my own property. This is not right,” Gilbert said.
Police arrived at the scene shortly after and took Service and three other individuals into custody. The locks on Service’s apartment have since been changed. Yet, it will take Gilbert’s family a while to recover from the trauma they experienced.
The Dogs are in Good Hands
The ASPCA stated that the dogs are doing well, and they’re receiving proper medical care. Yet, it shouldn’t have been so hard for help to arrive. Gilbert had been pleading for the dogs to be saved for months, but no one helped until the story gained popularity on social media.
“Eventually the neighbors started to complain as well — the smell, the flies, the noise,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert claims that people often came to her door asking for puppies. So, she knew that the upstairs tenants were running a puppy mill. Sadly, many inhumane breeders get away with this for even longer amounts of time.
Hopefully, this is where the horrific situation ends. No more dogs will suffer in that tiny apartment, and Gilbert’s family will no longer have to deal with urine seeping through the walls. If only all puppy mills could be shut down.
Taxation without representation. I will continue to tag elected officials, had it been a story of landlord abuse of tenant, they’d be falling over themselves to ask how to help. pic.twitter.com/PuadbdRjCL @NNickPerry @CMInezDBarron @JumaaneWilliams @nycpa @NYPD67Pct
— Kennisha Gilbert (@GilbertKennisha) September 24, 2021