Pet owners who purchased their new, furry friends at a pet store in Yonkers reported some bad -- and even tragic -- experiences once they got home, and animal experts say there are some key things to look for if you are going to get a pet from a retail establishment.
New pet owners Nicole Casson and Marissa Quattrone say they had negative experiences after shopping at Lou Gaudio's Yonkers stores “Puppies Puppies Puppies” and “The Exotic Pet Warehouse”.
Casson said that within days of buying her Boston Terrier puppy it became sick. It turned out the dog, named Rocky, had pneumonia.
Marissa Quattrone says a Chinchilla she bought from the same store died within weeks. Both accused Gaudio of shady business practices.
“I’ve been in business 23 years. If I was doing something illegal I would either be out of business or in jail,” argued Gaudio.
After receiving numerous complaints about Gaudio, NBCNewYork contacted the Westchester SPCA. The director of humane law enforcement, Ernest Lungaro, says he’s gotten the same complaints and after each one he's gone by to check things out, but every time Gaudio and his stores were in compliance with all laws.
Experts say a bad experience at a pet store doesn’t mean the shop is doing something illegal.
But animal adoption experts say prospective pet owners who don't want to buy a pet at a store should consider adopting from a shelter like the SPCA. They have numerous pets all in need of a home, many even who were rescued from high kill shelters.
But, if you do decide to find the newest member of your family at a pet store, the SPCA says to watch out for a few things.
1. Cleanliness: Animal waste should be removed within a few hours.
2. Do the animals look healthy? Do they have skin irritations?
3. Do they have enough space to sit down and stand up comfortably?
4. Vet checks: All dogs and cats are required to be checked out before they are sold.
5. Know your rights: The New York State Lemon Law requires sellers to reimburse the cost of a sick dog or cat. But they are not responsible for any vet bills you might incur.
Nicole Casson said Rocky is now doing great. But she does admit that if she could she’d do things differently, namely find a reputable breeder.
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