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Arrest in ill-treatment of 18 dogs

Shelter Island Police arrested Stephanie J. Bucalo, 64, at  6:48 p.m. on Aug. 31, charging her with 18 counts of “animal cruelty, torturing and injuring animals and failure to provide proper sustenance.”

The charges were brought under the New York State Agricultural & Markets Law. Eighteen additional counts were made against Ms. Bucalo under the Town Code for having unlicensed dogs.

Police reported that the 18 dogs were “subjected to urine and feces … [and] severe untreated medical conditions requiring euthanasia.”

Ms. Bucalo was processed at Police Department headquarters and released. She’s due to appear at Justice Hall on Sept. 3.

As reported in an earlier Reporter story, police had gone to Ms. Bucalo’s North Ferry Road residence on Aug. 27.

Det. Sgt. Jack Thilberg said that the Town executed a court-ordered search warrant on the residence and the dogs were seized under the warrant for Shelter Island Town Code and New York State Agricultural and Markets Law violations.

The house has been the subject of complaints from neighbors for years about multiple dogs barking and howling at all hours of the day and night. It was shuttered by the Shelter Island Police and Building departments Aug. 27, and the 18 dogs were removed and put into shelters.

The Town’s building inspector determined the residence to be unsafe on Aug. 27 for entry and put up placards saying the residence was not to be occupied.

According to police reports, the animals were transported by the Town Highway Department to three shelters on Long Island, to be “examined and treated as needed.”

Det. Sgt. Thilberg noted that the Town Code states that “the life, health or well-being of any person or animal, or upon a showing that a dog or dogs have been charged with three or more violations of this chapter within 30 days … any Court of competent jurisdiction may grant access onto and in to private property for the purpose of investigating or seizing any dog or dogs in violation of this chapter.”

And there had been three summonses for barking dogs within the past 30 days.

Two years ago, residents packed a Town Board meeting to air complaints about hearing barking, howling, yelping, whining — constantly — for years at the North Ferry Road residence.