A dog was locked in an empty storefront in Fairview Plaza in Greenport for at least four days as passersby and employees at nearby establishments grew increasingly concerned about its well-being.
On Sunday, the dog was photographed amongst its own feces and urine. Monday morning, it appeared someone had come during the night and cleaned up some of the excrement in the storefront, which is under construction and was bare except for a ladder and some building materials, but a giant smear of feces was still visible on the floor, and the smell was noticeable even outside the locked glass doors.
“We were almost in tears yesterday,” an employee at another Fairview Plaza business, who did not want to be identified because of their job, said Monday,. “I’d take the dog myself if I could.”
Greenport Dog Warden Jennifer Pinkowskis received multiple calls about the dog, but had little power to do anything about it, and referred the case to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, she said Monday.
Greenport Police were dispatched to the storefront late Monday morning, but said there was little they could do, since the dog did not appear to be in harm’s way and the storefront was locked. Upon leaving, they said they would contact the dog warden.
Greenport Police Chief Kevin Marchetto said Tuesday morning the dog was still there.
“I checked on the dog, he’s fine,” Marchetto said. “He’s being fed and watered.”
“It looks like he’s being used as a security dog there,” he added.
Greenport Police Officer Natalia Telles checked on the dog Monday night, and officers were instructed to do patrols of the parking lot on Tuesday to check on the animal, she said Tuesday.
Posters advertising the nascent business, Hudson Valley Aesthetic – Training and Spa, are posted on the storefront’s windows.
The business’ website states the establishment will offer training in esthetics – the study of methods to improve skin appearance and quality. The 18-week course is offered for $9600, according to the website.
The business is registered to Michelle Blackburn, who listed an address in Pine Plains, Dutchess County, when the paperwork for the business was filed with the NYS Department of State in September 2018.
A man picked up when the number listed on the storefront posters – the same number appearing in the “contact” section of the business’ website — was called Tuesday morning, but he claimed it was not the number for Hudson Valley Aesthetics after the reporter identified himself. The man then abruptly hung up.
Responding Greenport Police connected the business to both Blackburn and Jeff Yeh, of Stockport. Yeh had been there Tuesday morning, employees at nearby businesses said.
Yeh, who claims to be unearthing the illicit activities of numerous Columbia County agencies and officials, posting his findings on Facebook, has an extensive criminal history, including at least 18 felony charges prior to May of this year, an investigation by The Other Hudson Valley revealed last Spring.
Yeh was also indicted on 14 felony counts in June, including grand larceny, possession of stolen property, computer tampering and forgery, according to court filings, after state police raided the home where Yeh and his mother, Annette Loos, reside.
Loos was indicted on six of these counts, according to the joint indictment.
Jeff Yeh was also charged with Making a Terroristic Threat in July for allegedly threatening a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigator on Facebook in a video post.
Loos was seen locking up the Hudson Valley Aesthetic storefront at about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. The floor was free of feces. When asked if the dog was still there, she replied it wasn’t, but refused to say anything else.
Afterword: Good Boy/Bad Guard dog
After some harassment on my part Monday morning, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office talked to CoCounty 911, who dispatched Greenport police to check on the dog.