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The Humane Society of the United States Applauds Brick Township, N.J. for Taking Action Against Pet Store’s Alleged Cruelty

Township Revokes Pet Store’s License

The Humane Society of the United States commends the Brick Township, N.J. Council for voting unanimously to revoke Maria De Santis’ license to operate “Puppies Galore.” According to testimony during Tuesday night’s hearing consumers and Health Department officials repeatedly observed sickly puppies in the store, living in overcrowded conditions where feces was not picked up.

“The Humane Society of the United States applauds Brick Township Council Members for stepping up and protecting puppies and consumers,” says Kathy Schatzmann, New Jersey state director for The HSUS.  “We hope this is only the beginning of the Township’s efforts to crack down on questionable pet stores and puppy mills.”

Ryan Griffin, acting senior public health inspector for the Ocean County Health Department testified during the hearing that the store had a history of noncompliance and code violations including unsanitary conditions, treating puppies with expired medications and overcrowding.  Both De Santis, and the store’s manager, Nathan Sladkin, have been charged with a combined total of 42 counts of animal cruelty. All of the puppies in the store were removed in January. Reports indicate that 26 of the 39 dogs removed were ill with diseases including kennel cough, pneumonia and parasites.
“Puppies Galore” opened in October 2011 on Hooper Avenue in Brick Township. Though the exact source of the puppies sold by the store is unknown at this time, they were likely coming from inhumane commercial breeding facilities, or puppy mills. Responsible breeders do not sell their dogs to pet stores because they want to confirm that their dogs go to good homes. A majority of puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills.

On Wednesday, Brick Township Council President John Ducey announced he will support an ordinance proposed by Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis that would prohibit new pet stores that sell dogs or cats from doing business in town.

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 in person and see that both the breeding dogs and their puppies are raised in a clean, spacious area and are treated humanely. For more information, visit 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