New Jersey

Pet Store Owner, Brother Plead ‘Not Guilty' to Animal Cruelty Charges

Animal lovers and activists descended on a New Jersey courtroom Tuesday afternoon as a northern New Jersey pet store owner and his brother appeared in court after they were charged with more than 134 counts of animal cruelty. 

Just Pups owner Vincent LoSacco and his brother Leonard both entered not guilty pleas at an appearance on the charges that stemmed from 67 puppies found locked in a van behind their Paramus store in early April.

The brothers declined to comment to NBC 4 New York Tuesday, but their attorney said that he believes his clients have "many" defenses in the case.

Last month, Vincent LoSacco invited media inside his van and said he did nothing wrong by storing the dogs in the van on a night where temperatures dipped into the 30s and 40s.

Several animal activists turned out to court Tuesday and called on justice for the animals sold in Just Pups locations across the state. They also called on all of the stores to be shut down. 

One of the activists, Betty Michelmore, said she adopted one of the puppies found in the van. She said that the beagle-Pekinese mix had kennel cough and parasites.

"All the puppies we have gotten from him have been sick," she said. 

Several of Vincent LoSacco's stores have been shut down in the last several months. He is also facing 267 counts of animal cruelty over conditions at a store in East Brunswick. 

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