Pet Shop That Sold Sick and Hurt Puppies Will Repay Nearly 200 Customers

The owners of a Long Island pet store accused of knowingly selling hundreds of sick and injured puppies, including some that died days after being bought, will pay $300,000 to about 200 customers under a settlement announced by New York’s attorney general on Friday.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by the attorney general, Letitia James, in December 2021 after an investigation by her office determined that the store, Shake A Paw, was acquiring and selling puppies from so-called puppy mills, large-scale commercial breeders with reputations for abuse, inbreeding and filthy conditions.

Ms. James’s inquiry also found that the store and its owners, Marc Jacobs and Gerard O’Sullivan, had failed to disclose animals’ serious medical conditions and had illegally refused to reimburse customers for veterinary bills incurred after they had been sold sick pets, according to court documents.

In addition to repaying the $300,000, Mr. Jacobs and Mr. O’Sullivan agreed to stop misleading advertising including claims that puppies sold by Shake A Paw were the “healthiest” and from the “most trusted breeders”; to buy animals only from reputable breeders; and to provide customers with disclosures certifying the health of their puppies, according to court documents.

All pet stores in New York will be prohibited from selling dogs, cats and rabbits starting in December under a law passed in 2022.

Richard Hamburger, a lawyer for Shake A Paw, declined to comment late Friday.

Erin Laxton, who bought her Chihuahua-dachshund mix, Merlin, at Shake A Paw in 2020, described the settlement as a “huge relief.” Ms. Laxton said Merlin had begun coughing the day she brought him home from Shake A Paw and had died of respiratory illnesses five weeks later, according to court documents.

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