Just Pups store owner agrees to stop selling animals in New Jersey in settlement
Days after authorities found 67-puppies were found freezing in a van, his stores were closed but Just Pups owner Vincent LoSacco kept insisting he wasn't doing anything wrong. Now, over a year later a settlement between him and the New Jersey Attorney General's Office has been reached and he'll sell no more animals.
LoSacco and his "Just Pups" stores have come to an accord to permanently halt the selling of animals in New Jersey and pay $326,000.00 to settle allegations they lied to customers about the health of the puppies being sold, didn't reimbursed consumers for animals that became ill or died as well as committing dozens of other acts of consumer fraud.
The settlement was announced today from Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs.
Under which Just Pups is permanently banned from conducting business in New Jersey.
LoSacco is permanently banned from advertising or selling animals in the state in any capacity, including, as an owner, employee, consultant, or independent contractor at a pet store, kennel, or breeding establishment, either in a paid or unpaid position.
The settlement resolves allegations contained in the First Amended Complaint filed by the State in September 2016 which alleges LoSacco and Just Pups violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), Pet Purchase Protection Act (PPA), the Pet Regulations and the Advertising Regulations that lead other allegations:
- Selling sick or defective animals to consumers from stores in East Brunswick, East Hanover, Emerson, and Paramus.
- 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.
LoSacco also allegedly violated date PPA in link with his store in East Hanover by accepting payments or deposits from customers before having the puppies examined by a vet.
The settlement requires LoSacco and Just Pups to pay a civil penalty of $290,000, $30,163 in restitution to consumers, and $5,876 in reimbursement of investigative costs.
The $290,000 civil penalty will be suspended if the defendants meet the terms of the agreement.
The allegations against LoSacco and Just Pups stem from the Division’s statewide inspections of pet shops to ensure compliance with the PPA, which took effect in June 2015.
Just Pups stores in East Brunswick, East Hanover, Emerson, and Paramus were among 26 pet stores cited for noncompliance.
LoSacco was charged with over 400 counts of animal cruelty and neglect in connection with his stores in Paramus and East Brunswick, including charges from a disturbing discovery investigators made seeing an emaciated puppy in a cage in the East Brunswick store that later died.
“We’re pleased to finally close the book on Vincent LoSacco’s long and troubled history of selling puppies in this state,” said Attorney General Chris Porrino. “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.”
“Buying a puppy is an emotional investment as well a financial investment. We will not allow unscrupulous pet stores to deliberately deceive consumers in this very important purchase,” said Steve Lee, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.
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