Never let abusive ‘Just Pups’ owner sell dogs in NJ again, officials say
State officials are looking to permanently ban the Just Pups chain and its owner from ever selling pets in New Jersey again — saying time and time again, he sold sick puppies to owners under false pretenses.
Owner Vincent LoSacco is already facing hundreds of animal cruelty charges across several jurisdiction. Earlier this month, he agreed to close his Emerson store, amid a battlle with local officials over its license. He'd already closed locations in East Brunswick and Paramus, where he too faced allegations.
The only remaining store in the chain is in East Hanover.
“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,” said Acting Attorney General Porrino. “This kind of consumer fraud has a devastating effect on pet lovers and will not be tolerated in our state.”
Acting Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs allege LoSacco misled customers about the health of puppies sold from his stores in all four locations, and refused to reimburse customers for puppies that died or required veterinary care.
The charges against LoSacco have made news for months. In Paramus, he's accused of leaving 67 puppies in a near-freezing van. He's claimed the van was equipped to provide a safe environment.
He faces 267 animal cruelty charges in East Brunswick alone, in 40 separate summonses with fines that could top $100,000. Among the allegations was that the remains of three dead dogs were found in a freezer. The NJSCPA said the charges are mostly from 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.
Several animals recently bought at the store were found to be “sick and unfit for sale” after being examined by veterinarians, according to the NJSPCA.
The state's six-count complaint, filed in Bergen County Superior Court, alleges LoSacco advertised or otherwise represented that puppies were healthy and up to date with vaccinations, but then sold at least 55 "sick or defective" puppies, and failed to provide refunds or reimbursements for veterinary fees, in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, the Pet Protection Act, the Pet Regulations and the Advertising Regulations.
The alleged violations include misrepresenting as healthy and selling to consumers puppies suffering from kennel cough, Parvo, bronchitis, and Giardia.
LoSacco also allegedly falsely advertised that the dogs were up to date with vaccinations, and free of symptoms of illness.
On one store website, authorities say, he claimed falsely that "Just Pups" wasn't related
to any other store with the same name.
“Just Pups and its owner Vincent LoSacco allegedly fooled consumers into buying sick puppies by making blatantly false claims about the health of the animals, and by withholding information consumers needed to make educated choices,” Steve Lee, director of the Division of Consumer Affairs said. “Families who purchased sick puppies were faced with the heartbreaking choice of paying costly vet fees or losing their pet. The Division intends to hold Just Pups and LoSacco fully accountable for these alleged actions.”
The state’s complaint seeks to permanently ban LoSacco and Just Pets from advertising or selling animals in New Jersey. It also seeks consumer restitution, civil penalties, and reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and investigative costs.