SO WHAT HAPPENED IN COURT FOR THIS GUY ??
I live on the opposite end of the county from where this problem is. There is a problem with pit bulls and several other dangerous breeds here as well. With rent-to-own properties nearby, every scumbag that moves in every few months thinks that they need a vicious dog. They let them roam free to the point that you're afraid to go out, let alone take a walk or let your kids out alone in your own yard. This is not a Varick problem, it is a County wide issue that the County needs to address very soon. Why do you need such dangerous dogs? If it is for protection, believe me the robber will just shoot it. Buy homeowners insurance if your possessions are so valuable.
Oh btw - you won't need a lawyer when one of these dogs rips you apart. "The laws are written so that any idiot can represent themselves". I fell out of my chair laughing when I read that one. Why is he then consulting with 4-5 lawyers? My guess is he consulted with them and they all said he doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Who's living in fear? Pit bull owners allege racism; neighbors say they just want a fence
By Paulette Likoudis
Thursday, April 24, 2008 9:38 AM CDT
VARICK - It's a beautiful, friendly area, but East Lake Road residents say they're living in fear out here because of one couple's pit bull business.
To hear the breeders tell it, though, they're the ones with something to be afraid of.
Last Thursday, Justice Frank Case ordered that six pit bulls be removed from Robert Whitley and Shannon Corcoran's home, where they're breeding what they say is a perfect blend of champion bloodlines.
An animal control officer cited all six dogs as dangerous, but Eva was not taken into custody by Beverly Animal Shelter workers because her third litter is only 8 weeks old and still suckling. Like most pups, they swagger around like they own the living room of Whitley and Corcoran's home.
Eva and the rest of the grown dogs were out “doing their business” the morning of April 12, when Allison Crowe of Yale Farm Road came within sight of the property and realized Whitley's pit bulls were loose.
“One dog came, and then they all came,” Crowe said, explaining that when she asked Whitley to call his dogs, he said he didn't have control over them.
“He stood in the road and pointed at me and said, ‘You knew I was there. You should have gone the other way,'” recalled Crowe, who was afraid that things would get out of hand if her Lab-chow mix somehow provoked the pit bulls into a biting frenzy. A passing motorist helped her and her dog get away, she said.
When she reported the incident, Crowe said the officer who responded told her she'd have had a better case if she'd been bleeding; but she's hoping the situation can be resolved with neither man nor beast losing blood.
Wednesday, Whitley said he has made a formal complaint against Crowe, accusing her of “falsifying an incident.” Seneca County Sheriff's Lt. Chuck Maleski confirmed this morning that Whitley had been at the station, but no criminal charges have been filed and he's not aware of any investigation of Crowe.
Like others in the neighborhood, Crowe thinks Whitley should install a fence.
“That's all anybody wants. What's he going to do when they tear somebody apart? What happens when those cottages are rented, and there are people walking by who don't know about the dogs?” Crowe asked. She knows Whitley believes his neighbors don't like him because he's black, but Crowe said she'd have the same concerns if the dogs' owners were white.
“He needs to respect his neighbors. He doesn't seem to respect anybody,” said Crowe's husband, Pat.
“No one is going to force me to put a fence up or beware-of-dog signs, because my dogs are people friendly,” Whitley insisted. None of them has been accused of biting anyone, but in a year and a half, dog control officers have issued six court appearance tickets.
A number of attached affidavits allege that Whitley and his dogs have been unruly. A witness statement from June 29, 2006, after Eva, Nature Girl and Blue disrupted a Scrabble game on a neighbor's deck, said the “... dogs did not show aggression, but we were very frightened, and our afternoon was ruined.”
Many other neighbors have stories of being intimidated by the dogs running loose. Jim Hagadorn was new in the neighborhood when two of Whitley's pit bulls and a mixed-breed dog approached him while he was hunting. When he couldn't turn the dogs away with a gruff voice or firing shots near them, he climbed a tree. Hagadorn then spotted Whitley, who called the dogs back.
“They're relentless. I moved out here to have peace and quiet. The last thing I ever want to do is shoot a dog,” said Hagadorn, who was worried that it might have come to that.
“He don't care. He don't care at all,” Hagadorn said, pointing out that Whitley was neither sympathetic nor apologetic.
Larry Mitchell of Utica was out welding a boat hoist on his father-in-law's property a few summers ago when he flipped the shield on his full-face helmet and realized three pit bulls were very close to him. He said the dogs followed him as he backed into a garage, so he lit an acetylene torch to scare them away.
“They weren't snarling, but I didn't know what their intention was,” Mitchell said. His father-in-law is 82 and weakened by some health issues, so he fears for his safety.
As Whitley and Corcoran rummage through piles of paperwork spread across their coffee table, it's hard to keep up with the stories they tell to illustrate their view that the court cases against them have been mishandled.
The dogs are owned by the couple but licensed to Corcoran, a manufacturing engineer at Parker Hannifin Corp. in Lyons, because she owns the East Lake Road house and property the family shares. Breeding pit bulls is Whitley's livelihood. He tends to the dogs and the couple's 4-month-old son, with occasional visits from his other two children, who live mainly in Geneva.
“They took $8,500 in dogs from me last night,” Whitley said Friday, adding that one of the dogs will be in heat soon, which means he'll miss out on a breeding opportunity.
As Corcoran unfolded proof of one dog's extended pedigree, Whitley explained that it has a “power game” bloodline on one side, and family dogs on the other.
On Whitley's MySpace page (www.myspace.com/robbiedenero), he begins his video: “I'm Robbie Denero. Holla@me!! I got the PerfectPit4U.”
“Robbie Denero” is his pseudonym and described as a music recorder, promoter, performer, sound engineer and, ironically, a kennel builder specializing in dog containment units.
On the site, photos of adults and pups at Guaranteed Game Kennels are mixed with tags like “dead serious,” “blockhead bullies” and “gonna be huge.” Some of Whitley's “Thorough-Bred” (sic) dogs have ominous names like “Bad Girl,” “Crush” and “Menace,” although “no dog fighting” symbols can also be found on the page.
He said he requires applications from prospective dog buyers and would alert authorities if anyone said they wanted one for fighting.
The words loyalty, security and companionship are part of the site's sales pitch, as are power game, gameness and extremely game. What exactly does that mean?
“It's willingness, tenacity, spirit,” Corcoran said, noting they're a play on words that could apply to any hunting dog.
“There's no denying it. These are (historically) bred as fighting dogs, but these dogs don't bite people,” Whitley said. He added that the gameness is put to good use around the house, where they pull wagons and sleds holding kids, cinder blocks or trees cleared from a back woodlot.
“They have to work every day, or they'll hurt each other,” Whitley acknowledged.
In the know
Beverly Animal Shelter owner Dallyn Jenkins said things were going smoothly considering the amount of testosterone involved with having three unneutered males.
Jenkins likes Whitley and he's always polite to shelter staff, she said, but added that he's earned the reputation he has among his neighbors.
“He's gotten what he deserves,” she said.
Jenkins would like to see a moratorium on pit bull breeding in Seneca County and contends that, overall, the proliferation of canines could be controlled by establishing and enforcing an annual $200 licensing fee for unspayed or uncastrated dogs.
Pit bull rescuer and SPCA Investigator Jenny WcWhorter of MacDougall is fond of the breed and does what she can to find safe homes for dogs that become unwanted. As her reputation has spread, her calls have increased. Five out of seven days last week, she was phoned by people wanting to give up their pit bulls. Worse, she said, is when owners set them free when they move or tire of caring for them.
Pit bull ownership has been banned or become tightly regulated in many places, and McWhorter said Seneca County is now overpopulated with them.
She became acquainted with Whitley about 18 months ago, when it looked like he was going to lose five unlicensed dogs. He wanted her to testify that the dogs had a safe temperament, but she's not qualified to assess behavior. Since her response wasn't what Whitley wanted, she said they are not friends.
In fact, she said, she told him then, “You're the problem, not the dogs.” Now her name is on the list of those he said he plans to sue.
Whitley said Wednesday that he expected her to be on his side and accused her of wavering when she saw Case was going hard on him.
McWhorter agrees with Whitley about keeping pit bulls well-exercised, but said increased fitness also makes them more formidable if they attack.
“If they pack up, it's like they have a switch turned on, and it's not easy to stop that. Robert can't control that. Proper fencing would be a wonderful thing,” she said.
Breeding puppies in the numbers that Whitley does exacerbates the local pit bull crisis, McWhorter added, noting that it's possible that some of the dogs she's rescued were bred by him.
Whitley's dogs were in pack mode when they cornered a severely injured a cat in a garage, causing its death.
Whitley becomes animated when he tells his side of that story.
“... I had 13 feral cats in my backyard, and my dogs chased them out,” Whitley said.
Ruth and George Bassett, who live across the road, were caring for the cat that died.
“Now watch this. Here's the trick. I told the old man: ‘If that's your cat, why doesn't it have a collar? My dogs won't attack anything with a collar,'” Whitley maintained.
The Bassetts say Whitley initially seemed sorry about the cat, but he blamed them for the assault, because the cat was not wearing a collar. He also accused them of reporting the incident only because he is black, they said.
“He has no verbal control over the dogs. He was there pulling the dogs off, and as he'd pull one off, another one would be right in there,” said Ruth Bassett, as she recalled the day three of Whitley's pit bulls inflicted puncture wounds and broke the cat's jaw in three places, sending it into shock.
The Bassetts also witnessed the April 12 incident with Allison Crowe as it unfolded in front of their home.
“Everybody has the right to walk up and down this road and not be attacked. I feel he's very irresponsible,” Ruth Bassett said, noting that Whitley seems to prefer releasing his dogs in the front yard, even though he has access to acreage behind his house.
Whitley is digging in his heels because, he said, he doesn't want to do anything that would appear to be an admission the dogs are dangerous.
At another home across from Whitley's, a new neighbor and her boyfriend, neither of whom wanted to be identified, said they had no problems with the dogs.
Whitley and Corcoran say they have been the target of discrimination since moved in four years ago. They even accuse the Varick Fire Department of purposely mishandling a fire that destroyed their first home at the site.
Varick Fire Company President Chuck Brust said “[we] did everything in our power” when that fire broke out.
“I was fire chief in charge that night,” said Brust, who recalled the effort, noting they'd used thermal imaging equipment four times to verify that the fire was out. He said when he went back the next morning, the doors were locked but things seemed fine when he looked in the windows. Two hours later, the department got a call that the home was engulfed in flames.
“It's hard to explain what happened in those two hours,” Brust said.
Whitley also accused John Vincent, dog control officer for 19 years, of using the pit bulls to plot against him.
“John Vincent is prejudiced like Justice Case. He said, ‘Robert, you and your dogs won't be here for long,'” said Whitley, who doesn't plan to move, even though he contends he has anxiety attacks brought on by duress from his neighbors, and that he now dresses his kids in hunter orange when they're outside because of his brush with Hagadorn.
Vincent and Case declined to comment because of pending cases.
“I'm going to sue the blood out of the Town of Varick,” threatened Whitley, who said “four or five” attorneys are advising him.
“Their butts are gonna get whipped,” Whitley's 5-year-old daughter chimed in.
“This is America and I don't need a lawyer. The system is set up so a bum can represent himself,” Whitley said.Corcoran appeared before Justice Case without an attorney April 17.
Whitley can see what's going on in the road and driveway out front of his home via surveillance cameras and a small screen in his living room. Whitley said he has day and night footage from the last year and a half, including the April 12 scene. But he refused to show it, saying he'll use it to vindicate himself in court.
Whitley did, however, play a nearly four-minute scene he captured on his cell phone when he appeared before Justice Case on May 8, 2007. It shows an agitated Whitley haranguing Case as he sat quietly at his desk in the Varick courtroom. Corcoran and one of the couple's children were also present.
“Daddy was supposed to get a job, but they didn't call back,” piped up Whitley's son when the cell phone video ended. Whitley explained he'd applied for a job at a neighborhood kennel.
Corcoran is due back in court at 8 p.m. tonight.
Neighbor Bob McCann said he and other concerned neighbors plan to be in court and at tonight's town Planning Board meeting to ask about re-writing laws dealing with dogs and kennels.
“We're looking at different approaches,” said McCann, who added that he and others are determined to resolve what they consider an escalating menace in their neighborhood. McCann is calling for pressure on the Town Board and a public presence during court proceedings involving Whitley and Corcoran.