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October 3, 2013

Consumers Ask Court to Shut Down Infamous Florida-Based Puppy Seller

Former owners of Wizard of Claws accused of selling sick puppies

For the third time, consumers who say they purchased sick and dying puppies from notorious dog sellers James and Gilda Anderson are asking the Broward County Circuit Court to hold the Andersons accountable. In papers filed yesterday, the consumers argue that the Andersons have continued to violate a court order and the terms of a settlement agreement the parties entered into more than three years ago, by selling puppies from substandard breeding facilities and violating disclosure requirements as to where the puppies they sell come from. As a result, the motion argues, consumers are still receiving sick puppies.

Jonathan R. Lovvorn, vice president & chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The Humane Society of the United States, said: “The Andersons are apparently incapable of abiding by any basic standards when it comes to selling puppies. We hope that the court will make sure these dealers are not profiting off the sale of sick, puppy-mill bred dogs.”

The settlement agreement was the product of a 2007 class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of members of The HSUS and more than 100 other individuals. The lawsuit alleged serious violations of Florida’s animal and consumer protection laws, including false and deceptive claims that they sold only healthy puppies from reputable breeders, when in reality they sold sick and dying dogs from puppy mills. As a result of the lawsuit, Wizard of Claws filed for bankruptcy in 2009, leading to the pet store’s closing. HSUS facilitated a rescue of the remaining 32 puppies in the store – all of whom were adopted out by the Broward County Humane Society.

According to court documents, less than one month after the agreement was signed in 2009, the Andersons were back in business, selling puppy mill dogs and making false claims about their origins. In May 2010, the court fined the Andersons $26,625 in addition to imposing other penalties for having “knowingly, willfully and flagrantly” violated the terms of the agreement.

The Andersons have operated a series of puppy selling businesses and websites under many different names, including Wizard of Claws, CelebrityPuppies.net and currently Teacup Puppy Store and PuppiesforSaleSite.com.

The plaintiffs are being represented on a pro bono basis by the Miami office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org

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