The owner of Just Pups Pet Store in East Brunswick, New Jersey faces 267 counts of animal cruelty after authorities contend he exposed healthy puppies to disease and illness, failed to provide care for the animals and hid three dead puppies in a freezer, reports NbcNewYork News.
On Monday, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) in cooperation with the Middlesex County Department of Health and the New Jersey Department of Health, charged Vincent “Vinnie” LoSacco with the crimes. A majority of the charges are the result of LoSacco allowing sick puppies with giardia, distemper, upper respiratory infections and other diseases to mix with healthy dogs. Veterinarians examining some of the dogs deemed them too ill to be sold; other puppies had died in the possession of their new owners from illnesses contracted while at Just Pups.
LoSacco owns four other pet stores in New Jersey, located in Paramus, East Hanover and Emerson. According to the Patch, SPCA president Steve Shatkin stated, “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.” On the store’s Facebook page, however, LoSacco claimed his store “has been under attack by animal activist extremists who hate all Puppy Stores. They have been making baseless, false, and misleading statements regarding our store and the care we give our puppies. Just Pups East Brunswick will be reopening very shortly. In the meantime the puppies have been and will continue to be cared for the same as if we were open for business.”
A temporary restraining order granted by a judge has closed the doors to the East Brunswick store. A recorded message says the store is closed for “interior improvements.” If found guilty of all charges, LoSacco could face $100,000 in fines. A court date is scheduled for March 7th.
Follow the National Pet Rescue Examiner on Facebook.