Two police officers were patrolling the area around New Jersey pet store “Just Pups” Monday night when “crying and whining” noises caught their attention. They soon discovered 67 crated puppies in a van behind the shop.
Police told the Paramus Daily Voice that the smell of the dogs’ urine and feces was overwhelming, and the van was cold—just 38 degrees. Though a space heater had been hooked up to a propane tank, it didn’t adequately provide heat, and there was not sufficient ventilation.
Up to four puppies were inside many of the crates. Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said:
The officers also observed that the crates were too small for some of the dogs who could not stand up inside of them. Some of the crates also did not contain food or water and some of the dogs were covered in feces.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Animal Cruelty Task Force and an animal control contractor responded and swiftly brought the puppies to a local animal hospital. 15 of them required medical attention, and 4 will remain in the hospital.
This isn’t the first time Vincent LoSacco, owner of the regional chain, has received attention for his animals’ treatment. Just last month, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals filed nearly 270 charges of animal cruelty against him after three dead puppies were discovered in a freezer at the East Brunswick location. His license was revoked as of last Monday.
LoSacco claims the cages “were not overcrowded,” that the cages containing several puppies were likely litters, and that the temperature inside the van was probably taken after the opened door let in cold air. He adds that the van’s movement onto a flatbed truck by police is the reason the pups were covered in feces. LoSacco has also created a Facebook page called “The Truth about Just Pups New Jersey” where he answers some of people’s most frequently asked questions.
Not long after the Paramus story broke, a health inspector issued “conditional approval,” meaning that not all of the shop’s prior violations had been corrected. The Paramus location has been closed and is currently under investigation, and all the puppies are with Pet ResQ Inc. LoSacco’s shop in Valhalla, New York also faces violations.
Each of these puppies is in good hands and getting the necessary care. It is not clear at this point where they will go once healthy. Of course, if you’re looking to add a new family member to the pack, thousands of adoptable pups are ready and waiting! Connect with some of the furry singles near you with the BarkBuddy app!
You can also donate to the Pet ResQ Inc. GoFundMe to help defray the costs associated with caring for the pups.