EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—The NJ Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and the state’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit in July against Vincent LoSacco and his company, Just Pups LLC, for allegedly misleading consumers about the health of puppies it sold.
Just Pups has stores in East Brunswick, Emerson, East Hanover, and Paramus.
LoSacco’s numerous alleged consumer protection violations “caused his customers to suffer financially and emotionally as they sought expensive veterinary care for the sick puppies he sold them,” according to Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.
The state suit comes on the heels of state and local authorities charging LoSacco with over 400 counts of animal cruelty and neglect relating to his stores in East Brunswick and Paramus.
Investigators charged that they discovered a severely ill, emaciated puppy that later died in his cage at the East Brunswick location, and that LoSacco left 60 puppies unattended in crates inside a cold van outside his Paramus store.
The State is seeking to permanently ban LoSacco and Just Pets from advertising or selling animals in New Jersey, as well as to charge him civil penalties, consumer restitution, and reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and investigative costs.
LoSacco faces penalties of up to $10,000 for each of the 32 violations the State alleges he committed, which include: misrepresenting sick puppies as healthy, refusing to reimburse consumers for the veterinary treatment of their sick dogs, and failing to refund the purchase price of animals that died shortly after purchase.
“This kind of consumer fraud has a devastating effect on pet lovers and will not be tolerated in our state,” said Porrino.
This isn’t the first time a Middlesex County pet store has defrauded customers in a similar fashion– as recently as 2012, the Avenel pet store in Woodbridge was found to have marketed sick puppies as healthy, sold them to unsuspecting customers, and then refused to reimburse the owners for veterinary bills when the dogs got ill or died.
In that instance, the store owner Rocco Garruto pleaded guilty to fraud.
Anyone can file a complaint against a pet store by call the NJ DCA at 1-800-242-5846 or 973-504-6200.