NJ Attorney General sues broker for selling sick puppies

The New Jersey Attorney General's office says it has filed suit against a major dog broker who repeatedly sold sick dogs to unknowing consumers.

The state says Allan Levine of Monmouth County sold at least 10 gravely-ill puppies to buyers between 2007 and 2009. Several of the dogs were so sick they had to be euthanized.

“By allegedly selling puppies without disclosing serious health conditions that led some of the dogs to die within days of being welcomed into a home, these defendants demonstrated a level of callousness that is simply unconscionable,” Attorney General Dow said. “New Jersey’s pet regulations exist to protect animals as well as consumers. Anyone who seeks to profit by violating them will be held fully accountable to the law.”

Pennsylvania filed similar suits over the course of more than a decade against the now defunct CC Pets (Puppy Love) kennel in Lancaster County, although we note it took nearly 200 complaints of sick puppy sales and other fraud before action was taken against puppy broker Joyce Stoltzfus.

You can read the full complaint on the Levine case on the NJ Attorney General's website. In it are horrifying details of families who purchased one sick puppy, returned it to Levine (where, surprise, it died) and then finding the replacement was so sick it too had to be put down. 

Some animal welfare advocates say they have been aware of complaints against Levine since 2007 and believe he purchased many of his dogs from Pennsylvania puppy mills.

 Allan Levine told a TV reporter the charges were untrue.

“Animal Control has been here. Everybody has checked every one of my dogs and not once ever have they found either the place to be dirty or one sick animal here,” Levine told CBS2.

Levine - who sold the puppies for as much as $1,000 - also is accused of falsely portraying his business, which he ran out of his home, as a charity.

(For more information read the NJ Star-Ledger coverage here.)

Dogs sold in New Jersey have to be examined by a vet and must have vaccination records. Customers also have the right to ask for their money back within 14 days. Under Pennsylvania's "puppy lemon law" consumers have 10 days to take their pet to a veterinarian to get a certificate showing it was unfit for sale. (See the PA Attorney General's website for more information.)

A bill (SB 27) expanding the puppy lemon law to give consumers more time to file for a refund and include genetic conditions in the law, passed the Pennsylvania Senate and is awaiting action in the House Agricultural Committee.