Several pet shops in New Jersey have been cited for failing to comply with laws designed to protect consumers from buying unhealthy pets.
At the Jersey Shore, violators include Bark Avenue in Red Bank, Pat’s Pups in Waretown, and The Pet Shoppe in Middletown.
[See the full list here.]
All the shops were cited for failing to include information on cage labels for each animal, including where and when it was bred. They also didn’t note the names and addresses of those who brokered the sale between breeder and pet store or the date and names of veterinarians who performed the animal’s initial medical exam.
“Pet shops that don’t provide this vital information are breaking the law and denying consumers the ability to fully research this important decision,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman.
The violation notices direct the shops to comply with the laws and pay a reduced civil penalty. Shops that don’t address the notices or contest the violations could face higher civil penalties.
“Our goal is to bring pet shops into compliance with our consumer protection laws. We believe these actions will achieve that objective,” said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “However, if pet shops do not agree to accept the negotiated penalties and fully comply with the Pet Purchase Protection Act, we stand ready to bring them to court and seek the maximum penalties as set by law.”
The state offers consumers the following rights as required under New Jersey consumer protection laws, including the Pet Purchase Protection Act:
Require that cage labels contain the name, street address, web address, and license numbers for each animal’s breeder and broker. Labels must also include the date and place of each animal’s birth; its age, sex, and identifying markings including any tag, tattoo, collar number, or microchip information; the date of its initial medical exam and the name and address of the vet who examined it.
Mandate on-cage display of the “Know Your Rights” sign informing consumers that stores are required to prominently display the two (2) most recent inspections of the facility in which an animal was bred and housed prior to sale. The sign must direct consumers to request any undisplayed reports and inform consumers concerning how to obtain more information about inspections.
Require that an animal be examined by a veterinarian within five (5) days of being offered for sale and that those results be included in the animal’s history and health certificate. Mandate that if an animal was examined more than 14 days before it is purchased, the pet must be re-examined within three (3) days of delivery to the consumer (unless the consumer declines the re-examination in writing).
Forbid the sale of any animal purchased from a breeder or broker who doesn’t hold required state and federal licenses; has violated certain animal welfare laws in the past two years; or has refused to grant inspectors access to its facilities within the past two years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.