After hundreds of cruelty charges, Just Pups owner finally banned from selling animals
TRENTON — Vincent LoSacco — the owner several Just Pups stores that were shuttered one by one, as authorities accused them of hazards and violations— has agreed to stop selling animals in New Jersey.
As part of an agreement with the Division of Consumer Affairs, LoSacco, who has long proclaimed his innocence to accusations by several authorities, will pay a $326,000 fine to settle to settle allegations his company misled customers about the health of the puppies it sold, failed to reimburse consumers for animals that got sick or died, and committed dozens of other acts of consumer fraud, according to Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.
He will no longer be able to sell or advertise animals in any capacity in New Jersey as an owner, employee, consultant or independent contractor, according to the agreement.
LoSacco's problems began at his East Brunswick location, where he was charged with 267 counts of animal cruelty in March, 2016 because of what authorities said was a the lack of adequate infection control procedures, poor and improper veterinary care and the co-mingling of sick animals with new animals just brought into the store. Among the allegations was that the remains of three dead dogs were found in a freezer.
Several weeks later, 67 dogs were found in an unheated van parked in the back of his Paramus store on Route 17, locked inside small metal crates. LoSacco said there was a propane heater inside the custom van and blamed police for making it cold inside the van by keeping the doors open.
LoSacco's stores in Emerson and East Hanover also eventually closed as protesters picketed the stores.
“We’re pleased to finally close the book on Vincent LoSacco’s long and troubled history of selling puppies in this state. By permanently banning him from New Jersey’s pet sales industry, we are not only protecting consumers from fraud, we are shielding families from the heartache of unwittingly purchasing a sick puppy and then being forced to choose between paying costly vet fees or losing their pet," Porrino said in a statement.
Among the allegations against LoSacco:
- Selling sick or defective animals to consumers from his stores
- Misrepresenting as healthy and selling dogs suffering from Kennel Cough, Parvo, Bronchitis, and Giardia.
- Failing to reimburse consumers for veterinary fees associated with the treatment of sick or defective dogs, even after receiving veterinary certifications that the animals had been unfit for sale.
- Failing to refund the purchase price plus sales tax of an animal that died due to congenital or hereditary cause, within six months of delivery to consumer.
- Misrepresenting that dogs are healthy when such was not the case.
- Failing to have an animal that was examined more than 14 days prior to purchase reexamined by a veterinarian within 72 hours of delivery, as required by law.
- Misrepresenting on the Just Pups website that Just Pups can prove that all of its puppies are free from adverse health symptoms, when such was not the case.
- Selling an animal within the State of New Jersey without a completed animal history and health certificate.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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