BALDWIN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The owner of a Baldwin, Long Island, puppy store is facing charges after his shop was raided in March.
Sick puppies were allegedly found during that raid, abandoned in deplorable conditions.READ MORE: Federal Arrest Warrant Issued For Gabby Petito's Missing Fiancé Brian Laundrie
Kally Hirakis, of Bellmore, received a mini Goldendoodle named Ollie as a birthday gift from her fiancé, but the joy was short-lived. That night, the puppy was having trouble breathing.
“I took him to my family’s vet the next day,” Hirakis told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan. “Her words exactly were, ‘This puppy is unfit for sale.'”
Ollie cost $2,000, purchased from Puppy 4 You in Baldwin.
The seller suddenly couldn’t be reached.
“Silence, no answers,” Hirakis said.
Meanwhile, Astrid Lanza in Howard Beach paid $1,500 for her Maltipoo from Puppy 4 You. Within days, her vet discovered her puppy Tori was dying from pneumonia.
“My daughter still cries. A very hard time for us. Money-wise, too. It was thousands of dollars for vet bill,” Lanza said.
Two separate vets deemed the puppies unfit for sale.
Sadly, both animals suffered and died.
Pet groomer Carole Perlin worked at a business next door to Puppy 4 You.READ MORE: 'I Can't Take This Anymore': Heavy Rain In Tri-State Area Renews Flooding Concerns For Many Still Dealing With Damage From Ida
“The puppy store kept their door locked at all times … And we hear the puppies next door when no one is there, completely unattended. It raised some eyebrows,” Perlin said.
“If it wasn’t for somebody calling 911 and police getting in there, these animals would have still been– who knows what would have happened to them?” said Gary Rogers, with the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
When police and the SPCA raided the puppy store in March, 12 sick animals remained.
They have since been under constant veterinary care. One never recovered; the others are up for adoption.
The 26-year-old owner of the non-defunct store is facing charges. He has hired a lawyer, who says his client was in Florida and unaware of any animal abuse.
“For selling and offering to sell a diseased animal. They were considered a diseased animal. How horrific is that?” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.
“We want to hold this up as an example of what can happen if you are cruel and you mistreat animals and you try to make a quick buck off of one of these lives,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.
Animal advocates complain animal rights laws are lax and punishment for those selling sick animals from puppy mills or mass breeders need strengthening.
“It was really tough what we had to go through,” Hirakis said.
“Still very upset, still hurt,” Lanza said.
The vet bills for the 11 rescued puppies are mounting. Fundraising is underway.MORE NEWS: 1 Killed, 13 Injured In Shooting At Kroger In Collierville, Tennessee
To donate, visit nassaucountyspca.org.