EMERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey pet store whose owner is facing hundreds of charges of animal abuse is shutting down.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, some of the charges stemmed from an infamous incident in April, in which 67 puppies were found unattended inside a cold van behind one of his stores.

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The Just Pups store in Emerson had remained open, despite the charges. But now, it is closed for good.

An animal control officer showed up to make sure the doors were locked on Wednesday. Animal rights activists were cheering.

“It’s a victory for the town to be able to get what they want and have him close,” said animal rights activist Robike Noll-Faries.

“It’s a weight lifted,” said animal rights activist Cortney Woznicki. “That’s all I could say.”

Just before 1 a.m. Wednesday, after a nearly seven-hour hearing, the Emerson Borough Council voted unanimously to decline owner Vincent LoSacco’s application for a pet store license.

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“We looked at whether we should have this operator operating in our downtown, and we felt that for the best interest of the borough, the people and the animals, he should not operate,” said Emerson Mayor Louis Lamatina.

LoSacco refused to appear on camera Wednesday, but he did speak to CBS2’s Sanchez by phone.
“There was a strong sentiment from the town last night. So we are going to abide by the borough’s decision and close the store,” LoSacco said.

Since March, LoSacco has been charged with more than 400 counts of animal cruelty. The allegations led to the closure of his stores in East Brunswick and Paramus, where in April, police discovered the 67 puppies in the cold transport van.

Of the 30 puppies at the Emerson store, three will go to customers who bought them, 12 will go to animal rescue groups, and the remaining 13 will go to LoSacco’s last surviving Just Pups store in East Hanover – where currently, there is no ordinance making it illegal to sell puppy mill puppies.

“Each town that can put this ordinance in place would be great, because this will put out a strong message to everyone that you know, we are a humane society now,” Noll-Faries said.

New Jersey legislators are still debating the Pet Purchase Protection Act, which would make puppy mill puppy sales illegal statewide.

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LoSacco will be in court on July 21 to face his animal cruelty charges.