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Wayne Co. Sheriff addresses viral video of dogs left out in cold

(Provided photo)

(WHAM) -- The video shows two dogs left out in the extreme cold in Lyons, Wayne County as wind chills dipped dangerously low. It's been shared across the country and in Canada, and has resulted in dozens of calls to animal control.

Yet even before it was shared on social media, these animals were under the watchful eye of investigators and animal control. "We found no loss of hair, no frostbite," said Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts. "Their weight was consistent, and they found their health to be in good order."

For more than two weeks, Sheriffs deputies and animal control officers have been monitoring the 12 dogs on the property, including six beagle puppies that are six months old. Back in October, their owner, Robert Juliano, Jr., was charged with animal cruelty and marijuana possession, and three dogs were removed from the property. That case is pending but does not involve the animals living there now.

Sheriff Virts said deputies checked the animals last Thursday and again on the bitterly cold Saturday, when they were brought inside for the night. The district attorney says the law in this case is clear when charges can be filed. "It wasn't a situation where we could just storm onto the property and arrest the individual," he told 13WHAM's Jane Flasch. "The threshold on that is imminent harm or danger."

The sheriff adds that the cell phone video tells only part of the story. "It doesn't show some of the shelter that was there," he said. "Would we like to see better shelter? Absolutely! That's an A-plus pet owner versus a D-pet owner."

Juliano was not home and could not be reached via phone for comment.

Animal control officers will return to the property Tuesday to make sure the young dogs are licensed and vaccinated and to check again on the health of all of the animals.

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