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Monday, July 17, 2017

NYC health department investigates former Gambino enforcer's secret animal shelter



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He's in the doghouse now.
As the city health department investigated his secret animal shelter, former mob enforcer James Guiliani defended himself as nothing more than a friend to the feathered and furry.
Health department staff showed up Monday at the pet store that Guiliani co-owns, asking questions and taking pictures, according to staff.
"I'm not robbing banks," said Guiliani, a 50-year-old one-time member of the Gambino family. "I'm saving animals."
In addition to his above-board pet store, the Diamond Collar, Guiliani runs a clandestine kennel in Bensonhurst, called Keno's Animal Sanctuary. It's home to 52 critters including lizards, tortoises, birds, squirrels, possums, and raccoons, plus cats and dogs.
The secret shelter is a passion project for Guiliani, occupying 18 hours a day. He said he has worked on it every day for more than three years and slept only three hours a night.
But by harboring beasts and fowl, Guiliani has been running afoul of the law. His operation violates city regulations.
A spokesperson for the city Department of Environmental Conservation said Monday that raccoons, squirrels and possums fall under the agency's purview. Both the DEC and the health department were looking into the secret shelter.
Nick Perrelli, 24, who works at Diamond Collar, said health department investigators stopped by Monday morning.
James Giuliani owns The Diamond Collar pet store (pictured) as well as an animal shelter in Bensonhurst. 
James Giuliani owns The Diamond Collar pet store (pictured) as well as an animal shelter in Bensonhurst.
"They were definitely nice. But they were looking for something. That's for sure. They wanted to know if they could go in the basement or upstairs," he said.
"They took pictures of every dog. They wanted to know the ages, the sizes."
Perrelli said the pet store has been subsidizing Keno's Animal Sanctuary. "All the money we make at Diamond Collar goes back into Keno's for food for the animals and to restock the food on the shelves at Diamond Collar. At one point, me and James and Lena were eating pasta with cheese while the dogs were eating filet mignon."
Near the shelter Monday, Guiliani, a cigarette dangling from his lips, shook hands with neighbors who hailed him as the "dogfather."
"I don't feel that saving a life in any which way can be considered illegal," the former mobster protested. "How can you tell me not to save something that God put on this earth to flourish?
"They euthanize the animals. Everything is hypocritical," he said. "They bring the National Guard to save a Bald Eagle. But for raccoons, squirrels and possums that are dying in the street and we're just supposed to leave them."
"I'm not taking them from the woods," Guiliani said. "I'm taking them from back alleys back to the woods. What's wrong with that?"

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mob-enforcer-defends-animal-shelter-health-probe-article-1.3333244


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