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May 6, 2011

New Jersey Pet Store Owner Guilty of Animal Cruelty

During Puppy Mill Action Week, The HSUS says the case highlights need for reform

BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. – Karen Alexander, owner of Puppy Palace Pet Store in Burlington County, N.J., was convicted of several charges, including animal cruelty charges, stemming from the mistreatment of dogs for sale in her store. The Humane Society of the United States released the following statement regarding this case: 

“The Humane Society of the United States is proud to have worked with the New Jersey SPCA and Officer Theresa Cooper on the investigation into this New Jersey puppy shop of horrors,” said Kathleen Schatzman, New Jersey state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Many of these sick and dying puppies came directly from out-of-state puppy mill operations and underscore the desperate need for stronger laws against these cruel and hidden operations.” 

CASE FACTS: 

  • Two Puppy Palace Pet Shop employees contacted NJSPCA Officer Theresa Cooper when Bismark, a German shepherd puppy, was found sick, emaciated and lethargic in a back room without medical care. Cooper seized Bismark and immediately transported him for veterinary care, but he ultimately died of Parvo. Concerned about other animals at the store, Cooper launched an investigation.
  • Further investigation into the pet store convinced Officer Cooper that at least some of the dogs were coming from puppy mills in Pennsylvania -- some reportedly from unlicensed kennels.
  • The NJSPCA asked The HSUS to help put together a strong case against the owner of the store. Sherry Ramsey, director of animal cruelty prosecutions for The HSUS, worked through all the evidence and helped put together charges against the owner of the store.
  • Municipal Prosecutor Mark Tarantino worked diligently on the case against the pet store owner, Karen Alexander, who was found guilty on 11 of the 12 charges brought against her and will serve jail time.

PUPPY MILL FACTS: 

 

  • May 2 to 8 is "Puppy Mill Action Week." Thousands of dogs are suffering in puppy mills, spending their lives in cramped wire cages, often with barely enough food and water to stay alive.  Urge Congress to Support a Bill to Protect Dogs in Puppy Mills: your two U.S. senators and your U.S. representative urging them to co-sponsor S. 707/H.R. 835, the PUPS Act. Look up your legislators' names and their phone numbers here.
  • About one-third of the nation's 9,000 independent pet stores sell puppies.
  • The HSUS estimates that 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States.
  • Documented puppy mill conditions include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor food and shelter, crowded cages and lack of socialization.
  • Dogs kept for breeding in puppy mills suffer for years in continual confinement. They are bred as often as possible and then destroyed or discarded once they can no longer produce puppies.
  • Pet stores and online sellers often use attractive websites to hide the truth and to dupe consumers into thinking that they are dealing with a small, responsible breeder.
  • Responsible breeders never sell puppies over the Internet or through a pet store and will insist on meeting the family who will be purchasing the dog.
  • Puppy mills contribute to the pet overpopulation problem, which results in millions of unwanted dogs euthanized at shelters every year.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store. 

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org

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