The house at the centre of a suspected puppy mill raid last month has been leased once again.
The dock area home at 115 Delater Street was raided by Provincial Animal Welfare Service (PAWS) officials on the morning of July 14. Over the course of almost four hours more than 150 dogs were removed from the 1840-era home that had been rented by Christina Grein and Anthony Biondi back in April, 2021.
Neighbours looked on in shock and concern as cage after cage holding multiple dogs was removed by animal welfare officers and placed into vans and the Lincoln County Humane Society (LCHS) Mobile Adoption trailer. Many of them being pet owners themselves, it was difficult for the onlookers to believe so many dogs could have been crammed into the small house.
Last Saturday, property owner Arthur Scauzillo was busy readying the house for new tenants after leasing it out once again via NOTL Realty. A crew was stripping old shingles in preparation for a new roof while Scauzillo was inside cleaning floors, following the application of a new coat of paint on the walls.
The many window coverings that had been hiding the presence of the dogs on site had also been removed. When The Local stepped inside, the house seemed clean and easily inhabitable.
Scauzillo is still shocked that his previous tenants had been housing so many animals in the two-
bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom, 1,050 square foot home. He is sure the timing of the discovery prevented any severe damage to the house.
“It could have been a lot worse,” he says. “There really wasn’t any significant, irreparable damage. Had it gone on for longer there probably would have been, but we’ve repainted everything. You always have to look at the positive side of things.”
That evening in July The NOTL Local was the first to break the news to Scauzillo that the home he owned had been raided. He seemed genuinely surprised at the revelation, and spoke of the many references Grein and Biondi had produced, including one from their most recent landlord in Brampton, affirming them as potential low-risk tenants.
The Etobicoke-area lawyer acted quickly to deal with the situation, visiting the tenants the weekend following the action by PAWS.
Scauzillo says he had no problem terminating the lease and asking Grein and Biondi to leave the property. He says he told them they had to be out by the end of July. The couple did not fight back against Scauzillo’s demand.
Following their departure a number of the cages that housed some of the dogs were left behind in one of the two out-buildings on the lot. Scauzillo said there was also a lingering odour inside the house from the dogs. He says the new coat of paint and a general cleaning has worked to eradicate all but the last remnants of the smell.
“It’s disturbing, it’s very alarming,” Scauzillo says about the number of dogs removed last month. “I guess we shouldn’t really be surprised about anything these days. But it is shocking that this would happen.”
When asked if the experience has shown him how challenging it can be as a landlord, he is optimistic.
“I think stuff happens, but I don’t think it’s going to happen again,” he laughs hopefully. “It’s not something that is going to happen on a regular basis. I’ve had good experience with tenants overall.”
Chris Bowron, whose name was on the listing for NOTL Realty, said that his office has had the Delater Street listing for a number of years. The July incident was the first time anything like that had ever taken place.
“It was a Shaw rental for many years,” Bowron says. “It was always a very clean, very liveable property.”
Meanwhile, Brent Ross, a spokesperson from the Ministry of the Solicitor General, says the matter remains under investigation. For that reason he is unable to provide comment about whether there are charges pending against Grein and Biondi.
Many of the Dock Area neighbours have been speculating about what has happened with the rescued canines over the past six weeks. As of press time, officials at the LCHS could not be reached for comment.