A New Jersey pet store owner was charged with 267 counts of animal cruelty after authorities said he exposed healthy animals to ones with infections and diseases and hid three dead dogs in a freezer.
Vincent "Vinnie" LoSacco was charged with the crimes after SPCA authorities said he failed to properly care for animals at Just Pups in East Brunswick.
Authorities said most of the charges stem from improperly allowing sick animals to co-mingle with healthy ones, putting them at risk. Animals with giardia, distemper, upper respiratory infections and other diseases were kept in close quarters with other pets.
Some of animals purchased from the pet store were deemed too sick to have been sold by several veterinarians who looked at them. Others died after they were sold, the SPCA said.
Authorities searching the shop found three dead dogs in a freezer in the store.
LoSacco owns and operates four Just Pups locations in New Jersey, authorities said. The SPCA said it was continuing to investigate the store's operations and that it was "highly likely that more animal cruelty charges" would be filed.
A judge granted a temporary restraining order to shut down Just Pups until further notice.
NBC 4 New York has reached out to Just Pups for comment. A message recorded at the East Brunswick location says the store is closed for "interior improvements."
In a message posted to its Facebook page on Thursday afternoon, the store said it was "under attack by animal activist extremists who hate all Puppy Stores."
"They have been making false, and misleading statements regarding our store and the care we give our puppies," the store said in the post.
Information on an attorney for LoSacco was not immediately available.