AG James Files Lawsuit Against Long Island Pet Store That Illegally Sold Sick Puppies To Consumers

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On several occasions, Shake A Paw has sold seriously ill puppies to consumers who died days or weeks after purchase.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against pet store Shake A Paw for illegally selling numerous sick or injured puppies to unknowing consumers at its two Long Island locations. An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that the two Shake A Paw locations on Long Island – in Hicksville and Lynbrook, which serve the wider tri-state area – falsely advertised sick animals as fabricated and healthy health certificates, failed to disclose legitimate animal medical conditions, misrepresent puppy breeds, and refuse to reimburse consumers for veterinary bills when filing complaints with Shake A Paw. Attorney General James also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against Shake A Paw in an effort to protect endangered puppies at the two Long Island locations, as well as freeze funds that are in managed bank accounts. by Shake A Paw for restitution. .

“Shake A Paw’s actions of misleading consumers into purchasing sick or injured dogs are unconscionable and illegal,” Attorney General James said. “My office’s thorough investigation uncovered a series of violations by Shake A Paw that defrauded consumers and uncovered sick puppies from unsafe puppy mills. When New Yorkers purchased puppies from Shake A Paw they never expected to bring dogs home in such heartbreaking and horrific conditions.Today we are holding Shake A Paw accountable for their illegal and inhumane actions by filing a lawsuit to permanently ban the company. “business to sell puppies longer, as well as to get back what consumers have paid. Animal abuse is despicable and will not be tolerated.”

After receiving numerous consumer complaints, the OAG opened an investigation into the two Shake A Paw locations on Long Island. Shake A Paw advertises that their puppies are healthy and of the highest quality. After reviewing hundreds of veterinary records and consumer complaints, the OAG investigation found that Shake A Paw was selling puppies with serious illnesses – with some puppies dying days or weeks after purchase. Several puppies suffered from serious illnesses and birth defects, showing visible signs of illness at the time of the sale, despite obtaining signed health certificates from Shake A Paw’s contract veterinarians, often just days before the sale.

The OAG analyzed 408 veterinary records of puppies sold at Shake A Paw stores, including:

  • 52% of puppies exhibited coughing, sneezing, upper respiratory infection and/or respiratory problems;
  • About 54% were infected with parasites; and
  • Nearly 10% were diagnosed with pneumonia.

In addition, the OAG received 113 Shake A Paw registrations, of which 67 – or almost 60% of the health certificates – were issued between zero and 19 days before the sale.

Diseases and birth defects in these animals have been shown to be consistent with puppies purchased from puppy mills. The OAG investigation found thousands of puppies from known puppy mills being shipped to the two Shake A Paw locations on Long Island. Through financial records, the OAG found payments made to puppy mills known to Shake A Paw. In fact, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) informed the OAG that the US Department of Justice had charged a puppy mill breeder who had supplied puppies to Shake A Paw. The information provided by the ASPCA directly linked Shake A Paw to obtaining puppies from puppy mills and not from reputable breeders as advertised.

The OAG also obtained sworn testimony from a veterinarian who had a previous relationship with Shake A Paw, but terminated that relationship due to concern over the number of sick animals Shake A Paw sold, as well as other ethical concerns.

After purchasing puppies, many consumers found themselves with hefty veterinary bills soon after. Shake A Paw often gave consumers a run for their money when they called for a refund, were hung up on, and/or told they weren’t eligible for a refund. Shake A Paw representatives also directed consumers to the company’s own veterinarians, who often failed to diagnose illnesses; telling consumers they would not be reimbursed if they visited their own veterinarian – a violation of the Pet Lemon Act. Additionally, Shake A Paw refused to reimburse consumers who purchased sick or deceased pets, another violation of the Pet Lemon Act.

Through his lawsuit — filed in Nassau County State Supreme Court — Attorney General James seeks redress for victims for Shake A Paw’s unfair and deceptive conduct; civil penalties for such conduct; a permanent injunction preventing Shake A Paw from selling, importing, exporting, bartering, trading or donating animals in the future; and an end to the company’s new violation of consumer protection laws.

“I am so grateful that Attorney General James is taking action to hold Shake A Paw accountable for what all of the puppies and families have had to go through,” said Erin Laxton, who bought a dog from the Lynbrook Shake A Paw which is passed away within weeks of purchase. “I just hope that in the future, other families don’t have to go through the same grief as us. I’m proud to be able to be involved in this because I feel like I’m getting justice for my dog ​​Merlin.

“I want to thank Attorney General James and his team for standing up for these sick dogs and holding Shake A Paw accountable for their negligence,” said Danielle Fasano, who bought her dog Shaq from the Hicksville Shake A Paw and immediately had to take the dog to a veterinary hospital to be treated for pneumonia. “Shake A Paw’s actions are heartless. They put the profits on the humane treatment of the puppies. We hope this lawsuit puts an end to Shake A Paw’s terrible treatment of puppies.

“We can’t and shouldn’t ignore the stories of people buying sick puppies from Shake A Paw and other pet stores. Not only are families heartbroken, but they’re also left with huge bills. veterinarians,” said U.S. Representative Tom Suozzi. “Pet stores that buy, transport and sell animals from puppy mills must be held accountable, and the attorney general’s efforts will achieve that.”

“In Nassau County, we have zero tolerance for fraud and the emotional and financial heartbreak these pet stores have caused by allegedly falsifying animal health records,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “I commend Attorney General James for taking action against both the alleged inhumane treatment of these animals and the alleged criminal practices that were intended to mislead and harm the residents of Nassau.”

“Adopting a ‘forever’ friend shouldn’t be a process filled with lies, falsified records or expensive vet bills,” said State Sen. Jim Gaughran. “Shake A Paw has fooled countless families looking to bring home a puppy, prioritizing profits over pup welfare. I thank Attorney General James for holding Shake A Paw accountable for his egregious behavior.

“It is wrong for Shake A Paw to exploit consumer trust to make a profit while risking the health and safety of puppies,” said State Senator Kevin Thomas. “Not only have consumers lied about the origins of their pets, but also about the health and welfare of the beloved animals they bring into their homes. I thank Attorney General James for taking swift action to hold Shake A Paw accountable and to protect New York’s animals from neglect and cruelty.

“As a proud rescue dog owner and animal rights advocate in the Legislative Assembly, I am appalled by the revelations of Attorney General James’ inquest,” the Assemblyman said. State Charles Lavine. “This unethical and illegal behavior must be stamped out and those responsible prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“As a lifelong dog lover, I was sickened by the systemic deception and cruelty uncovered by the Attorney General’s investigation,” Nassau County Legislator Arnold W. Drucker said. “While I am confident that this action will provide the financial restitution the victims of Shake A Paw deserve, it will be much more difficult to alleviate the grief that families in our area have experienced as a result of the deeply inhumane and deceptive conduct. of this pet store. I commend Attorney General James for taking decisive action to protect consumers and affirming our unwavering support for animal welfare.

“We are grateful to Attorney General James for prosecuting those who sell sick or injured puppies to our Long Island residents,” said North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “Adding a new pet to your family should be a fun and exciting time. It shouldn’t include a shocking and worrisome visit to the vet.

“New York has one of the largest numbers of puppy-selling pet stores in the nation, which sell puppies from out-of-state commercial breeding facilities – known as feed mills. puppies – where puppies are cruelly raised with no regard for their health or well-being,” said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO, ASPCA. “Each year, thousands of these puppies are marketed in pet stores across New York as healthy dogs from responsible breeders, which is far from the truth.We are grateful to Attorney General Letitia James for taking decisive and compassionate action to close this pipeline to protect the both animals and consumers.

“We are delighted to have supported Attorney General James and his office in their efforts to end the importation of sick animals into New York pet stores,” said Gary Rogers, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SCPA). “We always advise consumers to do their due diligence on where they buy their pets and have them immediately checked by a veterinarian upon purchase.”

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Christina Bedell and Dorothy Nese, both of the Nassau Regional Office, with additional support from Investigators Paul Matthews and Heather Harmer, Consumer Fraud Representative Adam Levin, Legal Assistant 2 Karen Swett and interns Blair Bake and Allan Wang. The Nassau Regional Office is headed by Assistant Attorney General for Regional Affairs Valerie Singleton and is part of the Regional Affairs Division, which is headed by Assistant Attorney General for Regional Affairs Jill Faber. The Regional Affairs Division is overseen by Senior Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.

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