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August 16, 2011

The HSUS Applauds N.J. Attorney General for Taking Action Against Alleged Dealer of Sick and Dying Puppies

Dealer also accused of posing as a charitable organization

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Humane Society of the United States commends New Jersey Attorney General Paula T. Dow and the State Division of Consumer Affairs for filing suit against unscrupulous dog dealer, Allan Levine. According to the complaint, Levine is accused of selling gravely ill puppies, many of which died within days of being sold, failing to truthfully disclose health information to buyers, refusing to provide refunds or reimburse consumers for veterinary costs, and wrongfully portraying his business as a charity. Both The HSUS and New Jersey Consumers Against Pet Shop Abuse have received complaints about Levine that mirror allegations in the current lawsuit.

 “The Humane Society of the United States applauds the State of New Jersey for stepping up and protecting consumers,” says Kathy Schatzmann, New Jersey state director for The HSUS.  “We hope this is only the beginning of the State’s efforts to crack down on unscrupulous dog dealers and puppy mills.”

Levine is accused of selling at least 10 sick dogs to New Jersey consumers.  The puppies’ ailments ranged from parasites and upper respiratory infections to Parvo—a highly contagious and dangerous virus.  In some instances, consumers accepted a replacement puppy from Levine after the one they purchased died only to have the replacement puppy suffer the same fate. 

Levine regularly advertised puppies for sale via advertisements placed in the New Jersey Asbury Park Press newspaper.  The dogs were then picked up at Levine’s home. However, since Levine is a puppy broker, not a breeder, the consumers were unable to see exactly where the animals came from or in what conditions the dogs were raised.

 Puppy mill operators primarily sell puppies through classifieds and on the Internet, in addition to supplying pet stores. Responsible breeders do not sell their dogs to anyone without first meeting the buyer face to face, offering to show purchasers where the puppies were born and raised, and introducing the customers to the puppy’s parents.

Based on the terms of a temporary restraining order, Levine is currently prohibited from acquiring, selling, offering for sale, or transferring any animals. The State is seeking restitution for consumers, as well as civil penalties and reimbursement of the States’ attorneys’ fees and investigative costs, and to have the defendants permanently enjoined from selling animals.

The HSUS urges people who want to get a puppy to consider adopting from a shelter or rescue group first. If deciding to buy from a breeder, potential buyers should always visit the breeder and see that the dogs are treated humanely and ensure the puppies and their parents are living in spacious, clean areas. For more information, see The HSUS’s Puppy Buyer’s Guide at humanesociety.org/puppy.

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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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