Attorney General says PA breeder sold sick puppies

In her first public action involving illegal puppy sales since taking office last year, Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced a lawsuit against a Mercer County breeder accused of selling sick dogs.

The complaint against Lisa and Paul Mussi and their kennel, Royale Doberman Pinschers, alleges they violated the puppy lemon law for selling the diseased dogs and refusing to take the dogs back or provide reimbursement for vet bills.

The state-licensed kennel, which also operated under the name Luvstruk, voluntarily closed in 2011 following repeated citations for failing to keep  the facility in a safe and humane condition for the animals.

Inspections in 2011 noted an overwhelming stench of ammonia, dogs being kept on short chains in pens, dogs in crates that did not give them room to turn around, dogs forced to lick water off the floor because no other water was available. One dog, housed in a plastic dog crate, had mange and the operators were ordered to get vet care ASAP,

“Despite changes in residence, business names and business locations, both defendants have been engaged in the breeding and sale of dogs to Pennsylvania consumers on a continuous, or nearly continuous, basis since at least 2005,” according to the complaint.

The Mussis sold dogs “that were clinically ill, afflicted with infectious disease or parasitic infection, or with other defects or conditions for which the (consumer protection law) directs a remedy for the purchasing consumers,” the complaint said.

The couple provided paperwork that alleged the puppies were healthy and that they abided by the puppy lemon law, but then refused to accept the return of dogs, give refunds or reimburse for vets’ bills, it said.

Under the Dog Purchaser Protection Act a buyer must takes their dog to a vet within 10 days of the sale and if the vet diagnoses a clinical ill or has died from injuries likely sustained on or before the day of sale the buyer is entitled to a return the dog for a replacement dog or full refund, or receive reimbursement for vet bills equal to the price of the dog..

One online ad said Mussi was an AKC Doberman breeder who had been breeding dogs since 1985

Puppies were advertised as having "European and American lines combined for a large, well-muscled, even tempered companion or guard dog." It also said puppies were "raised underfoot and prespoiled."

The attorney general's office is currently seeking $2,850 in restitution and has received eight consumer complaints, said Kane's spokesman, JJ Abbott.

"We are actively seeking out more victims," he said. The restitution amount is expected to go up and does not include all the victims so far.

This was not the first time Lisa Mussi was cited by the state. Under a 2010 agreement with the Attorney General's office Mussi - then Lisa Erb of Greenville - was cited for failing to register her business name, then Luvstruk Kennel, and was ordered to abide by consumer protection laws.