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North Bay store broken into by animal rescuers last summer has closed

A Leather Trend customer also complained of being bitten by business owner's dog

The Main St. E. store Leather Trend had a moving van at its front door this past week as men emptied the store of its remaining contents.

A sign on the front door read "CLOSED" and a "Notice of Vacant Possession" court order is displayed in a front window. The mortgagee is listed as the Caisse Populaire Alliance.

The clothing business was owned by Rob Szalas, and his dog Dunaj, nicknamed the "Downtown Doberman," was often found tied up outside the store.

It was when someone complained of being bitten that Szalas was thrust into a public and bitter battle with the local health unit, which was trying to seize the animal.

See: Dunaj appeal denied but dog escapes Health Unit grip

At one point the Health Unit tried to have Szalas jailed for contempt of court, prompting Szalas' lawyer Jonathane Ricci to charge that the effort by Medical Officer of Health Jim Chirico, "In our belief this is an ego-driven appeal."

See: Health Unit wants jail time for dog owner

The Health Unit never did get its hands on the dog and its battle with Szalas is still ongoing.

Things got worse for Szalas as in 2016 when police charged him with trafficking Oxycodone pills from within his Main

See: Controversial dog owner facing drug charges

Then last summer, with Szalas in jail, some concerned citizens broke into the store to rescue a cat with a tin can stuck on its head.

See: Main St. break-in saves kittens

A woman smashed a hole in the glass door of Leather Trend, and food and water was inserted through the hole after the can was removed.

Carol Keefer later admitted to police her role in the rescue attempt. and no charges were laid with the provision that damage to the store be repaired. Keefer had no money and lived at a Senior Citizens home. When BayToday broke the story, a local glass company offered to cover the cost.

See: PAID IN FULL! Community rallies to help woman pay for broken window


Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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