A Nassau County judge upheld a temporary restraining order barring a Long Island pet store, with locations in Hicksville and Lynbrook, from buying puppies for resale.
Nassau Supreme Court Justice Helen Voutsinas released her ruling on Wednesday, denying a request by Shake A Paw to resume acquiring new puppies. In December, the judge initially granted state Attorney General Letitia James’ request for an order when James filed a lawsuit alleging the store knowingly bought and sold sick dogs.
The Lynbrook store closed on March 6 while the Hicksville store remains open, according to a store attorney.
“It is unacceptable that Shake A Paw has been buying and selling sick puppies,” James said in a statement. “I am pleased that our court order has been upheld so that Shake A Paw can no longer purchase or adopt puppies for resale in New York. My office will continue to hold them accountable and protect innocent puppies.”
Richard Hamburger, attorney for Shake A Paw owners Gerard O’Sullivan and Marc Jacobs, accused the attorney general’s office of “deliberately distorting the facts” in the case.
“The claim that Shake A Paw knowingly sells sick puppies is baseless,” he said. “Shake A Paw only acquires puppies from legal sources – federally licensed breeders and brokers who meet federal regulatory requirements. And Shake A Paw strictly complies with the New York Pet Lemon Law, as well as all state and federal regulations.”
The attorney general’s office presented evidence that some of the Shake A Paw-sponsored breeders were giving puppies ivermectin, used to treat parasitic worms in cattle and other animals, including dogs, according to new court documents. .
While the American Kennel Club and ASPCA say ivermectin — with the proper dosage and under the care of a veterinarian — is safe for most dog breeds, it’s not recommended for puppies. less than six weeks.
James’ lawsuit argues that Shake A Paw sold puppies with serious illnesses or birth defects, despite obtaining signed health certificates from the company’s contract veterinarians, often days before the sale. Many puppies died within weeks of purchase, the suit said.
The lawsuit, which seeks restitution and civil penalties, alleges Shake A Paw sold dogs acquired from puppy mills, lied about their health and pedigree, fabricated health certificates and failed to provide refunds, in violation of the Pet Lemon Act.
In a March 8 filing, Hamburger wrote that the temporary restraining order had “decimated their business” and “has already caused the closure of one of their stores and will soon result in the closure of their remaining store.”
Court records from Shake a Paw indicate that 214 of 220 puppies examined in January by an independent, court-appointed veterinarian were found healthy and fit for sale.
But the attorney general’s office said its contract vets visited the stores a month earlier and found much sicker animals. The attorney general’s veterinarians then provided medical advice to better treat the animals, officials said.
The court-appointed veterinarian, the attorney general’s office said, also failed to perform the more rigorous diagnostic tests on the dogs that the independent vet did and the January inspection was pre-scheduled.
Diane Levitan, associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the Long Island University College of Veterinary Medicine, said many puppies sold by Shake a Paw suffered from respiratory illnesses, influenza, canine herpes, pneumonia, infections eye or stool-related diseases.
A “surprising and very disturbing percentage of puppies in stores,” Levitan wrote in court papers, were clinically ill or suffered from birth defects.
The order allowed the shops to continue selling the puppies they currently own, but only after they were deemed fit for sale by the independent vet James hired.
The judge also froze Shake A Paw’s bank accounts, potentially to compensate families who bought puppies from the store who later fell ill or died.