NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — State officials have filed a consumer complaint against the Just Pups pet stores and its owner.
The state on Wednesday alleged the company and owner Vincent LoSacco misled customers about the health of puppies sold from its stores in East Brunswick, East Hanover, Emerson and Paramus. Officials also say the company refused to reimburse customers for puppies that died or required medical care and committed dozens of other consumer protection violations.
“Vincent LoSacco’s alleged deceptive behavior caused his customers to suffer financially and emotionally as they sought expensive veterinary care for the sick puppies he sold them,”Acting Attorney General Porrino said in a statement Wednesday. “This kind of consumer fraud has a devastating effect on pet lovers and will not be tolerated in our state.”
The state says LoSacco advertised or otherwise represented that puppies were healthy and were up-to-date with vaccinations. But officials say the Emerson resident sold at least 55 puppies that were “sick or defective” and failed to provide refunds.
The state is looking to permanently ban LoSacco from advertising or selling dogs in the state of New Jersey. Just Pups faces up to $10,000 each for the 32 violations listed on the complaint.
LoSacco was charged with up to 400 counts of animal abuse after 67 puppies were found in a cold, unattended van behind the Just Pups store in Paramus, along with other violations discovered in East Brunswick earlier this year.
His Emerson store, which was charged with six health code violations, was closed last week when the town voted against issuing him a business license.
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.
New Jersey legislators are still debating the Pet Purchase Protection Act, which would make puppy mill puppy sales illegal statewide.
LoSacco will be in court on July 21 to face his animal cruelty charges.
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