list of violations
|NEWARK – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has cited pet shops throughout the State for failing to comply with laws designed to protect consumers from purchasing unhealthy pets.Violations cited include a failure to label dogs’ and cats’ cages with each animal’s breeding history, medical background, and other information required under amendments made to the Pet Purchase Protection Act, effective earlier this year.
“Providing consumers with information about the breeder and the animal’s veterinary history allows consumers to make educated choices in purchasing a pet for their family,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman. “Pet shops that don’t provide this vital information are breaking the law and denying consumers the ability to fully research this important decision.”
All of the pet shops that received Notices of Violations from the Division were cited for failing to include the required information on cage labels for each animal, including where and when it was bred; the name and address of anyone who brokered the sale between breeder and pet store; the date and name of vet who performed the animal’s initial medical exam; and the age, sex, and identifying marks or tags on the animal.
“Information required by the Pet Purchase Protection Act is crucial to consumers who want to know that the pets they bring into their homes were bred under healthy conditions that comply with the required standards of care,” said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “The Division is committed to ensuring that these facts are readily available to consumers, as the law requires.”
The Notices of Violation direct the pet shops to comply with the Pet Purchase Protection Act, and pay a reduced civil penalty. Pet shops that fail to address the Notice they received, or contest the violations, face higher civil penalties.
“Our goal is to bring pet shops into compliance with our consumer protection laws. We believe these actions will achieve that objective,” said Acting Director Lee. “However, if pet shops do not agree to accept the negotiated penalties and fully comply with the Pet Purchase Protection Act, we stand ready to bring them to court and seek the maximum penalties as set by law.”
In addition to issuing NOVs, the Division took alternative action against certain other pet shops. Stores that have more than one retail location with multiple violations, had three or fewer animals for sale at the time of the inspection, or whose inspection requires a more detailed review, have been sent letters directing their appearance at executive conferences to discuss inspection violations, implement a compliance plan, and impose a civil penalty.
Know Your Rights Before Purchasing a Pet:
The initiative was coordinated by Office of Consumer Protection Investigator Donna Leslie with legal assistance from the Division of Law, coordinated by DAG Patricia Schiripo. The Consumer Affairs Local Assistance offices in Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, and Union counties assisted in the investigation.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.