A group of consumers filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court against the Arizona-based online puppy marketplace PuppyFind.com. The complaint alleges that PuppyFind violated Arizona consumer protection laws by deceptively and fraudulently publishing inflated ratings of disreputable puppy sellers who sold dogs through its website, causing unsuspecting consumers to buy sick puppies and suffer emotional and financial harm. The Phoenix law firm Burch & Cracchiolo are representing the plaintiffs with assistance from attorneys at the Humane Society of the United States.

According to the complaint, PuppyFind misled consumers into believing that the puppies advertised on its website were healthy and came from high quality breeders when in fact many of the puppies were sick and came from inhumane, unsanitary breeding facilities known as puppy mills. Each of the plaintiffs allegedly relied on PuppyFind’s misleading seller ratings when they purchased their puppies from George and Tabitha Doyle, who were advertising on PuppyFind. The complaint alleges that numerous consumers posted negative reviews about the Doyles on PuppyFind, but PuppyFind removed these reviews from the website, resulting in an artificially inflated seller rating.

“The Humane Society of the United States has received scores of complaints from angry and frustrated consumers who purchased sick puppies through sellers advertising on PuppyFind,” said Kimberly Ockene, senior attorney for companion animal issues in the HSUS’ Animal Protection Litigation section. “PuppyFind is deceiving consumers and promoting the sale of puppy mill puppies to well-intentioned dog lovers who would never knowingly buy a puppy bred in inhumane conditions. We hope this lawsuit achieves some justice for consumers and animals abused by this shameful industry.”

The HSUS encourages consumers to consider adoption of animals from shelters or reputable rescue organizations, and recommends that consumers never purchase a puppy online. If a consumer decides to purchase a puppy from a breeder, the HSUS advises the consumer to visit the breeder’s facility and observe the dogs’ living conditions before buying a puppy.

To learn more about how to purchase a puppy responsibly, visit dontbuyintopuppymills.com.

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