***All dogs pictured in this article are adoptable dogs who need forever homes in the state of New Jersey.***
The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals filed 267 charges of animal cruelty against the owner of Just Pups, a pet store in East Brunswick, NJ. State inspectors say that the store owner, Vincent LoSacco neglected to take the proper measures to care for the animals in his stores. protect the puppies in his store from diseases and infections, such as giardia and distemper. LoSacco operates four other Just Pups pet stores in the area – the current 267 charges apply only to the East Brunswick location.
Investigators became aware of Just Pups potentially being in violation of the Pet Protection Act in January of this year after several puppies died shortly after making it to, what should have been, their forever homes. Officials say that LoSacco failed to provide proper veterinary care for the animals. Allegedly, he also allowed sick puppies to interact with healthy dogs, thus contributing to the spread of disease.
The most alarming charge to come out of this case is that inspectors say they found three dead dogs in a freezer located on the property of the East Brunswick store.
Just Pups, however, denies all claims, citing false accusations from people who hate stores that sell puppies.
Indeed, there are many people who actively lobby for legislation banning the sale of dogs from pet stores. This is because, according to the Humane Society, reputable breeders do not sell to pet stores:
Truly responsible breeders do not sell their puppies to pet stores, they want to meet their puppy buyers in person and do not sell their puppies to the first person who shows up with cash in hand. Most breed club’s Code of Ethics state that their breeders refuse to sell their dogs to pet dealers or any other commercial sources of distribution.
The Humane Society also maintains that, despite pet store owners’ claims to the contrary, all dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills and that most mills are licensed by the USDA.
Unfortunately, most USDA-licensed breeders house dozens or even hundreds of breeding dogs in small wire cages for their entire lives—and sadly, this is legal under current USDA regulations, which require only minimal standards of food, water and shelter.
Based on the charges, a New Jersey judge granted a temporary restraining order forcing the East Brunswick Just Pups to close. The store, however, says it is closed for “interior improvements.” A hearing is set for March 7 and LoSacco could face fines of roughly $100,000.
Steve Shatkin, president of the SPCA, told Patch:
We are dealing with a fairly large population of animals at multiple locations. I cannot stress enough, this is an ongoing investigation and it is highly likely that more animal cruelty charges will be filed.
Just Pups did not immediately respond to our request for a statement. We will update this article as the story develops.
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