As Just Pups faces hundreds of cruelty charges, 450 dogs being put up for auction
Above, in a video by the Daily Voice, Just Pups owner Vincent LoSacco argues a van used to transport puppies was safe and temperature-controlled.
The owner of the Just Pups chain — facing hundreds of animal cruelty charges and local fights that have shut down all but one of his stores — is planning to auction off more than 450 dogs.
The one-day, two-ring Just Pups Total Kennel Dispersal auction is scheduled for Aug. 6 in Milan, Missouri.
"Over 90 percent of these dogs have been raised on the property and hand selected for superior quality and no genetic faults," Southwest Auction Service wrote on its flyer for the event. It also urges buyers to have proper ventilation and air conditioning to transport their dogs from the event.
New Jersey officials are looking to permanently ban the Just Pups chain and owner Vincent LoSacco from ever selling pets in the state again — saying time and time again, he sold sick puppies to owners under false pretenses.
Charges against LoSacco spanning several towns have made news for months. In Paramus, for instance, he’s accused of leaving 67 puppies in a near-freezing van. He’s claimed the van was equipped to provide a safe environment.
In an online petition looking to stop the auction, Candace Smith-Quiles of East Brunswick — a town where one of LoSacco's stores has shut down — wrote she believes the dogs could be used as evidence against LoSacco.
"Instead of going from one breeding facility to another, lets try to get them into homes and a better life with a family. they may ONLY BARK. BUT all of us can GIVE THEM their BITE!" she wrote. The petition had nearly 300 signatures as of Thursday at noon.
The auction is listed under the names "Randy and Kandy Hale," and materials on Southwest's website do not mention LoSacco by name. The auction service could not be immediately reached Thursday.
Earlier this month, LosaCco agreed to close his Emerson store, amid a battle 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.
LoSacco 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.
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