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City’s Dog Play Yard Burglarized

The Friends of Verona Street Animal Shelter (d/b/a Verona Street Animal Society) announced today that the trailer at the Animal Services dog play yard had been burgled.  There does not appear to have been forced entry but several items are missing including 15 air horns, 10 pet correctors, two portable heaters, a plastic wagon, a grill, and a generator. The total value of the stolen items is estimated at $700 – $900.

The City of Rochester maintains a site access agreement with Eastman Kodak Company for use of the parcel at 199 Brown Street as an exercise and play area for dogs at the City’s shelter. Animal Services established its dog playgroup program in August 2013 to provide more enrichment for shelter dogs. Operating expenses including purchase of supplies such as those stolen are paid for by the Verona Street Animal Society.

The program ascribes to the Dogs Playing For Life™ (DPFL™) principles and has been featured in a DPFL™ blog and at the Humane Society of the United States Animal Care Expo in 2015. The concept is fairly simple; dogs are social and enjoy playing.

“The playgroup program enables dogs to get out of the kennels to run and interact with other dogs,” said Director of Animal Services Chris Fitzgerald. “Doing so helps them expend pent-up energy and reduces stress associated with the shelter environment.”

A gofundme page has been created by a shelter supporter to help raise funds to replace the stolen items. Contributions made to that account are not likely to be tax deductible. Therefore, the Verona Street Animal Society recommends that individuals interested in helping replace the missing items or supporting the playgroup program in general visit to make an online contribution specifically for the dog playgroup program.

Rochester Animal Services provided shelter for more than 3,700 cats and dogs in 2015. Stray and surrendered pets are temporarily housed at the shelter which also serves as a pet lost-and-found resource, pet adoption center, and low-cost spay neuter clinic. The shelter is open to the public 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday (with extended hours on Wednesday until 7:30 p.m.), and is closed Sundays and select holidays. For more information on adoptions, spay and neuter, community outreach or volunteering, visit or email

Rochester Animal Services provides information, assistance, and pet re-homing for the Rochester community to support pet retention and encourage compliance in order to help people and animals. The Verona Street Animal Society is dedicated to raising awareness and providing the resources necessary to enable Rochester Animal Services to more effectively serve the public need for animal care and control, pet sterilization, and animal adoption services and, in cooperation with the City of Rochester, to support the mission of Rochester Animal Services. For more information about the Verona Street Animal Society visit or

News Media: For more information, contact Chris Fitzgerald, Director of Animal Services and VSAS ex officio board member, at 428-7274,