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Former employee blaming new staff for kennel conditions in abuse case

By HILARY LANE

WORCESTER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Frank Popolizio, owner of Southside Farms, appeared in Worcester Town Court on Tuesday.

He is charged with 49 counts of animal cruelty for malnourished animals as well as unsanitary housing conditions. Documents were exchanged in court and the case was adjourned until April 3.

In January, the State Police and the Susquehanna SPCA seized between 50 and 60 dogs from the kennel after a month-long investigation.

Ann Jones and her husband worked at Southside Farms from 2008-2010. During that time, Jones says the kennel was extremely clean and the dogs were all well fed and groomed.

At the end of 2010, Frank Popolizio, the owner of the kennel, let go of Jones and her husband and hired a new set of employees. Jones says that is when everything changed.

"He told me right out, 'if I would have known what was going on, this would have been corrected a long time ago,'" said Jones. "'This would have never happened.' I said, 'Well Frank, you know this would have never happened when we were here. If you would have just given us the pay we wanted and treated us better along with some of the other employees, you would have never have been where you are right now.'"

Jones says her and her husband were living on $150 a week each and were putting in 100+ hours on the job weekly. Popolizio did supply Jones and her husband with a trailer to live in as well as food and clothing.

Jones says the employees at the kennel now are not giving the animals the attention they need and says the sickly appearance of the dogs are proof.

"It was sickening what I saw at the kennel recently," said Jones. "I confronted Frank about it and he agrees completely and feels a lot of it is his employees' fault. He says he should have been out there more times during the week, but he put in the faith of his manager at that time and she wasn't doing the job she was supposed to be doing."

We reached out to both Popolizio and the current employees multiple times, but no one was willing to comment.

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