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Tag: pet store

What is the “truth” about Just Pups?

Police investigating the source of a stench in Paramus found 67 puppies packed in a van parked behind Just Pups, a North Jersey pet store.

The pups — some covered in feces — were seized early Monday and taken to a North Jersey animal hospital, where 15 of them were determined to be in need of medical treatment.

Found locked in steel crates, the puppies were scheduled to go to other stores in the Just Pups chain. They had come from the Missouri breeding kennel of store owner Vincent LoSacco.

That’s him in the video above — responding last week to allegations of animal cruelty filed by the New Jersey SPCA in connection with the chain’s largest outlet in East Brunswick, N.J.

Last week, East Brunswick’s council unanimously voted to revoke LoSacco’s license at that store, prompting him to post a video he called “The Truth About Just Pups.”

Despite the scrutiny, LoSacco still apparently saw no problem with leaving 67 puppies in a parked van in Paramus on a night that temperatures dropped to 35 degrees.

Authorities said that about 3 a.m. Monday, Paramus police officers approached the van and detected the stench of urine and feces.

The officers, hearing whines coming from inside the van, opened an unlocked sliding door and found the dogs.

paramus1Police said the temperature inside the poorly ventilated van was 38 degrees, and that some of the crates did not contain food or water. The small crates held two to four puppies each.

LoSacco on Monday told NorthJersey.com that the van was temperature controlled, and leaving puppies parked in the van overnight was not an uncommon practice.

“It’s not unnormal to leave them in the van, as long as they have air conditioning or heat — depending on the season — and food and water,” LoSacco said. “It’s the same thing with the pet store. People aren’t there 24 hours.”

He denied that the cages were overcrowded, and suggested that any dogs who were covered in feces got that way when police officers loaded the van onto a flatbed truck to transport it.

paramus2As of Monday night, four pups remained at the vet’s office. The rest — golden retrievers, Labradors and terriers — were transferred to Tyco Animal Control, which has contracts with more than 20 municipalities in Bergen and Passaic counties.

The incident is being investigated by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Animal Cruelty Task Force, Paramus police detectives and the Paramus Health Department.

The Paramus was closed Monday pending the investigation. It reopened Tuesday.

paramus3Paramus Mayor Richard La­Barbiera said the store had been the subject of complaints in recent weeks from residents about unsanitary conditions and animal cruelty.

The mayor said a Paramus inspector visited the store in response to the complaints and found some unsanitary conditions, but no signs of cruelty. The store was closed for about 24 hours while those sanitary conditions were addressed.

Just Pups has four New Jersey locations — in Paramus, East Hanover, East Brunswick and Emerson, according to its website.

“Just Pups is the only puppy or pet store that you can shop at where you have a 100% guarantee that 100% of our puppies have come from reputable breeders only,” the website says. “..We have never ever purchased a single puppy from a questionable source or a puppy broker.”

In February, LoSacco’s attempts to renew his license for a Just Pups location in Valhalla, N.Y., were denied, according to the New York Daily News.

The charges filed by the NJSPCA against the East Brunswick store came after three dead dogs were found in the store’s freezer on Feb. 29. In total, 267 animal cruelty charges were filed by the NJSPCA, alleging, among other things, that LoSacco exposed puppies to illnesses by commingling healthy and sick animals.

An online petition calling for that store to be shut down and for a state Department of Health investigation into all Just Pups locations has gathered nearly 160,000 signatures.

(Photos: Paramus Police Department)

Wedding ring found in folds of dog food bag

A Tennessee couple found more than kibble when they lugged a bag of dog food home from the pet store this week.

Within the bag’s creases was a wedding ring.

Krista Berg of Murfreesboro called the manufacturer, then the pet store, where she found the ring’s rightful owner, employee Mike Stoddard, who’d apparently lost it while stocking shelves at the Murfreesboro PetMart.

The couple returned the ring to him, according to News Channel 5.

How much was that doggie in the window?

A California man who gave his girlfriend a 3-month-old yellow Lab for Christmas has been taken into custody.

Officials say the dog was stolen — three days before Christmas — from a Stanton pet store.

The theft of the Marley look-alike from Pet City was caught on the store’s surveillance cameras, according to the Orange County Register.

The boyfriend – Ryan Rickman, 23, of Orange – returned to the store with the dog to pay for it Tuesday, but instead was booked into county jail on suspicion of burglary and grand theft, officials said. Later, the puppy was turned over to Rickman’s girlfriend, who ended up paying for her own Christmas gift.

Sheriff’s investigators have identified a second man involved in the theft but have not been able to contact him, said an Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

Security video shows two men walking into the store and spending several minutes talking to clerks. After one of the clerks leaves for a lunch break, one of the men distracts the remaining clerk while the other man lifts the puppy from a cage and runs out the door.

More than 20 pets perish in Indiana store fire

More than 20 dogs and cats died Monday when fire swept through a pet store in Bloomington, Indiana.

Nine dogs and three cats survived the fire at Delilah’s pet store — most of which were rescued from the front of the building where they were on display.

Investigators were trying to determine the cause.

Karen Kidwell, the owner of the store, believes the fire started in the back of the building, WTHR-TV in Indianapolis reported.

“Probably electrical. It’s an old building,” said Kidwell. “I’m really glad none of my people were here because I would have really felt bad if they got hurt. The fire broke out just minutes before the store was set to open.

“I’ve been thinking about the animals that didn’t make it out. I had a personal dog that had been abused. It was a really sweet dog that didn’t get out of the fire and I just hate to see her go down that way.”

Kidwell isn’t sure if she’ll re-open.