GREENBURGH, New York — A dog breeder who lost about 20 Italian mastiffs in a shed fire last week isn’t facing cruelty charges, officials announced Monday after finding no evidence of criminal mistreatment.
“I don’t forsee (charges), unless something pops up that I’m not aware of,” said Ernest Lungaro, director of the SPCA of Westchester. “I don’t see any animal cruelty at this point. I don’t think he intentionally harmed these animals.”
Ross Taylor, owner of the residential breeding business, said he’s still in mourning after Wednesday’s fire killed the dogs housed in his backyard shed at 7 N. Lawrence Ave.
“It was an accident, something I have to live with for the rest of my life,” he said, offering his first public comments on the fire as he stood near a giant tarpaulin that was obscuring the view of the burnt-out shed. “I miss my dogs, period.”
The early morning fire was sparked by one of several space heaters in the 20-by-20-foot kennel. The SPCA examined two of the dead dogs, conducting necropsies, finding no evidence of prior abuse.
They died from the accidental fire, said Lungaro, whose department was joined in the investigation by Greenburgh police and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.
While avoiding criminal charges, Taylor faces a slew of code violations from the town, including breeding dogs in a residential area.
He was shut down in 2006 for running the same business.
Officials were not certain when he resumed breeding Cane Corsos, also known as Italian mastiffs, which were being advertised for sale on the Internet.