New York City pet store faces lawsuit following HSUS undercover investigation that exposed sick, mistreated puppies
A New York pet store that sold numerous sick puppy mill dogs to unsuspecting consumers now faces a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court for allegedly failing to give proper medical care to sick puppies and deceiving buyers about their health. The store’s former owner may have to pay nearly $4 million in fines as well as tens of thousands of dollars in restitution to customers.
New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs this week filed the charges against the now-closed store, the Chelsea Kennel Club, and its owner, Yardena Derraugh. The lawsuit states that the defendants sold the puppies at a “tremendous profit with no regard for the health of the puppies or the financial impact on the consumers of purchasing incredibly ill pets.”
It was an HSUS undercover investigation that exposed the animals’ suffering in 2017. Our hidden camera documented many sick dogs at the store, including a French bulldog puppy who shed a quarter of her body weight and an English bulldog with pneumonia so severe that the animal was struggling to breathe.
Millions watched and shared our undercover video, which showed employees roughly grabbing puppies, holding them down and smacking them with towels. When puppies became sick, the pet store owner was seen instructing employees to apply crude home remedies such as cold baths, or dose them with aspirin or adult cough syrup, rather than seeking immediate veterinary care. Two dogs bought as part of the investigation suffered from health or behavior problems, but the store did not disclose them to undercover buyers.
The two dogs found good homes and are thriving now, but that was not the case for many others. In one case, a heartbroken dog owner called to tell us that he purchased a French bulldog puppy from Chelsea Kennel Club for nearly $5,000, and incurred about $15,000 in vet bills, but the puppy died shortly after.
We are glad that justice is moving forward in this case. But Chelsea Kennel Club is not the only pet store where animals are sick and mistreated. That’s why we are working to pass a bill in New York that would put a stop to such neglect and cruelty in the future by prohibiting the sale of puppy mill dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores. If the bill passes, it would go a long way in ensuring that animals do not suffer at the hands of those who profit off them. If you live in New York State, please call on your lawmakers and ask them to support this important bill.