Tensions between owners of the in Aquebogue and protestors who have been demonstrating outside, hoping to raise awareness about puppy mills for the past few months, took a dramatic turn on Sunday as police were called to the scene.
Barbara Dennihy of the Companion Animal Protection Society said she was told by Riverhead Town police on Sunday afternoon that protestors could no longer park in the Aquebogue Elementary School parking lot.
Riverhead Town police confirmed on Sunday night that a call was received from Jessica Kaphan -- the Puppy Experience is owned by Scott Kaphan -- complaining that Dennihy and other protestors were parked at the lot.
"It seems the protestors are the only people not allowed to park there," Dennihy said. "All day, cars of people biking, using the playground and even people that overshot the parking lot for the Puppy Experience parked in the school lot."
Police said Phil Kent, principal of the Aquebogue Elementary School, also contacted them; Kent was on the scene when police arrived.
Dennihy said she was told that protestors could park on the street as long as no "No Parking" signs are evident.
Police said that in order for protestors to be officially banned from the lot, Kent would need to sign an affidavit stating that the demonstrators were not allowed to park on school property. It was no immediately clear if that affidavit had been signed.
Police added that on weekend hours, anyone can park at the school lot unless such an affidavit exists.
Kaphan said on Sunday night said that while he had no comment on the incident, the Puppy Experience now has a homeless shelter and adopton shelter for animals. Kaphan said "disgusting, deplorable" conditions at other area shelters.
Kaphan also added that his attorney would be initiating a lawsuit within the next 90 days. "Keep on bringing the picketers," he said. "They're bringing me money."
Last week, the attorney for the Puppy Experience, Ronald T. Alber, Jr. of the Commack-based Alber & Loglisci, LLP, who sent a letter recently asking the protesters to cease and desist, or else risk the filing of legal action, including a restraining order "enjoining any further injurious conduct," said a as this week.
Alber said surveillance had been set up to monitor the which have been taking place over the past weeks to raise awareness of puppy mills nationwide.
Dennihy had questions about the rescue operation. "Where are these adoption dogs coming from?" she asked. "How about the donation jars set up in the store? What are these donations being used for? The whole thing seems fishy," she said.