A dogfight has broken out between a Manhattan animal rescue and an ex-employee who claims the organization failed to protect vulnerable puppies.
Emily Dyson, the founder of Waldo’s Rescue Pen, has allegedly been fostering seriously ill animals, and several have died under her supervision, according to sources.
According to Michaela Mele, a former employee and board member, four puppies died of the highly contagious but treatable canine parvovirus in one case.
“She said she was treating them in whatever way she could. They never saw a vet,” Mele insisted.
Dyson described the puppies’ parvo deaths as “heartbreaking” and said she had been in contact with a veterinarian, noting that “the dogs’ symptoms were not consistent with parvo.”
To have the tragedy “thrown in my face publicly while suggesting it was somehow deliberate on Waldo’s part is just depraved,” she said.
“When dogs have died, I know she has wrapped them up in bags and thrown them in a dumpster,” Mele added. Mele’s former roommate said she overheard Dyson talking about dumping a dead puppy “in a dumpster,” according to The Washington Post.
Dyson refuted the accusation, calling it “flagrantly untrue and defamatory,” and pointing out that the animals she works to save are among the most vulnerable.
Mele, who is no longer with Waldo’s, described an operation that was mostly run out of Dyson’s Lower Manhattan apartment, where sick dogs allegedly didn’t always get veterinary care but adopters could be charged up to $550, which is typical of many rescue organizations.
Waldo’s, like many other small animal rescues, brings dogs up to the Big Apple from the South, where warmer weather and a lack of spay-and-neuter laws mean more strays.
Last month, the Post ran into her in the South Street Seaport, where she and volunteers came across a van loaded to the gills with crated dogs on a Saturday morning.
According to records obtained by The Post under the Freedom of Information Act, Waldo’s has been the subject of at least five complaints to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM).
“Where is the money going if she’s using a shady transport, not giving fosters supplies, not paying for proper vet care? I’ll tell you where it’s going, her pockets,” one whistleblower, whose identity was redacted, alleged in a July 24 complaint.
Dyson claimed she had no knowledge of the complaints and believes they were made by people who wanted to harass her.
Waldo’s is a state-licensed business. However, while the law requires rescues to register, “it does not provide the Department with inspection authority as it does with pet dealers,” according to Jola Szubielski, a spokesperson for DAM.
Lauren Nute, 30, volunteered to foster Bleecker, a poodle with a waste problem, only to discover that his issues were much more serious.
The dog was “extremely riddled” with heartworm, had an ear infection, and needed dental work, according to Nute, who claims Dyson never provided the dog with medical records. Nute claims Dyson blew up when she took Bleecker to her own vet and took the dog back.