New Jersey has sued Prada Puppies and its owner, Jessica Durkin, charging that they sold sick puppies to consumers without providing the veterinary exams that are required by state law.
The Salem, N.J., company also allegedly failed to provide the animal history state law calls for and refused to pay refunds or reimburse consumers for the cost of caring for the sick puppies.
“Families who bring a new puppy into their home will bond with that pet very quickly,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “Those who purchased sick puppies from this defendant – including the family that had to have their new pet euthanized – suffered on behalf of their animals and because of the defendant’s alleged failure to disclose health information or provide reimbursement for purchase and veterinary costs. We are pursuing full restitution for those consumers.”
The state alleges that Durkin charged between $300 and $450 for the sale of Jack Russell terriers, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Yorkshire terrier/poodle mixes, and Maltese/poodle mixes. She advertised the puppies on the Prada Puppies website, www.pradapuppies.com, as well as on various dog breeder and dealer websites and in the South Jersey Times newspaper.
On at least four occasions between November 2012 and January 2013, Durkin violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and Pet Regulations in connection with the sale of puppies that turned out to be sick and in need of expensive veterinary treatment.
For example, on December 19, 2012, a family purchased a Yorkshire terrier/poodle mix puppy from Durkin. The animal quickly became ill with hypoglycemia, severe diarrhea and anemia, and was nearly comatose when the family brought it to a veterinary clinic five days later, the lawsuit said. On December 27, 2012, eight days after its purchase, the family decided to euthanize the extremely ill puppy.
In November 2012, a Jack Russell puppy developed a severe cough four days after a family purchased it from Durkin. The family brought the animal to a veterinarian who diagnosed and treated it for bacterial bronchopneumonia.
In January 2013, a family took a Cavalier King Charles puppy for a veterinary exam one day after purchasing it from Durkin. The veterinarian found that the animal was suffering from ear mites, yeast infection of the ears, giardia (a parasite that invades the small intestines) and an upper respiratory infection.
In January 2013, a family brought a Maltese-poodle mix puppy to a veterinarian three days after purchasing it from Durkin, because the puppy exhibited vomiting, diarrhea and extreme head-shaking. The vet determined that the puppy suffered from giardia, coccidia (another parasite that invades the intestines) and ear mites.
Durkin refused to provide refunds on these and other occasions, despite the fact that in each case a veterinarian determined within 14 days of purchase that the animals had been unfit for sale, the lawsuit alleges.
In such cases, the seller must honor the customer’s choice to either return the pet for a full refund plus the payment of veterinary costs, or to keep the pet and receive reimbursement for past and future veterinary costs up to the original purchase price.