SPCA Rescues 22 Dogs/Puppies from Tonawanda Home, Charges Three People with Animal Cruelty

August 9, 2023
By: SPCA Communications Manager Bethany Kloc & Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

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Officer Wood returns to SPCA with first group of rescued puppies. Photo by the SPCA’s Jillian LeBlanc.

UPDATE  August 25 — From the office of Distrct Attorney John J. Flynn:


Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 30-year-old Jamie D. Aaron, 47-year-old Mary Beth Aaron and 43-year-old Marc R. Scholes were arraigned yesterday afternoon before Tonawanda Town Court Justice J. Mark Gruber. Each defendant was charged with 23 counts of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals; Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance, 23 counts of Failure to Provide Proper Food and Drink to Impounded Animal (Class “A” misdemeanors under New York Agriculture and Markets Law).

Marc R. Scholes and Mary Beth Aaron were also arraigned on an additional charge of one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Class “A” misdemeanor).

It is alleged that on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, SPCA investigators and members of the Town of Tonawanda Police Department executed a search warrant at the defendants’ residence on Dupont Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda. The defendants are accused of failing to provide necessary food, water and care to 22 dogs and one cat confined to their home. The animals were found in unsanitary conditions without access to food and water. All of the animals were signed over to the custody of the SPCA Serving Erie County.

A 12-year-old child also resided inside of the home. Marc R. Scholes and Mary Beth Aaron, the child’s caregivers, are accused of knowingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child involving a substantial risk of danger to the children’s life or health due to the unsanitary conditions of the home.

Aaron, Aaron and Scholes are scheduled to return on Thursday, September 28, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. for further proceedings. All three defendants were released on their own recognizance as the charges are non-qualifying offenses for bail.

At the request of prosecutors, Judge Gruber issued a “no animal” order, which prevents the defendants from owning or caring for any animals while the case is pending.

If convicted of the highest charge, Aaron, Aaron and Scholes each face a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

“These defendants are accused of failing to provide proper care for the children and numerous animals living inside of their home. I want to thank our partners at the SPCA for their work in this investigation and care they have provided to the many animals rescued from this home,” said Erie County DA John Flynn.

DA Flynn commends the SPCA Serving Erie County, SPCA Animal Cruelty Investigator Lindsey Wood and the Town of Tonawanda Police Department for their work in this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jordana C. Gelber of the Justice Courts Bureau.

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

August 9 — Twenty-two dogs were rescued late yesterday afternoon by the SPCA Serving Erie County after cruelty investigators found them living in a home deemed unfit for both humans and animals.

According to SPCA Officer Lindsey Wood, the dogs were found all together, contained in a small bedroom; some were standing on dressers, others on the bed and desk. As officers slowly entered the room, the dogs began chaotically running throughout the house, clearly fearful of strangers.

“The sight and smell of urine and feces throughout the home was overwhelming,” said Wood, “and all the doors and windows were covered, making it an extremely dark environment.”

All 22 dogs were rescued by several SPCA representatives and rushed back to the West Seneca location for emergency care. Wood says one cat may still be in the house and SPCA officers are continuing their efforts to rescue the cat.

Charged with animal cruelty are Mary Beth Aaron, Jaime D. Aaron, and Marc R. Scholes. Collectively, they have been charged by SPCA Officer Wood with 46 counts each of Class A misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty according to NYS Agriculture and Markets Law Article 26, Sections 353 & 356. They are scheduled to be arraigned in Town of Tonawanda Justice Court August 24. Additional charges and violations were placed by Tonawanda Police.

The dogs are now in the care of the SPCA Serving Erie County and at the time of this writing are still being examined, cleaned, and cared for; the SPCA’s dedicated team is fully committed to ensuring the animals receive top-quality veterinary care and nurturing socialization, paving the way for the brighter futures they truly deserve.

Keep watching YourSPCA.org for additional details on the condition of the animals and the cruelty charges.

Your donation will provide care, comfort, and solace to these vulnerable animals during this challenging period. Together, we can show them better days lie ahead. To contribute toward the care of these animals, please click the button below and remember to write “22 Dogs” in the comments section of the donation form:

Help care for 22 dogs/pups rescued by SPCA >>