Suit Claims South Jersey Puppy Dealer Sold Sick Dogs
By Jim Donovan: The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has filed suit against Jessica Durkin, d/b/a “Prada Puppies,” of Salem, a puppy dealer who allegedly sold sick pets to consumers.
The State alleges that Durkin sold pets without providing required veterinary examinations prior to sale, without providing required animal history and health records to consumers, and without providing consumers with refunds or paying the cost of veterinary treatment after the puppies she sold turned out to be sick.
The State’s civil complaint, filed in State Superior Court in Salem County, 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, http://www.pradapuppies.com, as well as on various dog breeder and dealer websites such as http://www.qualitydogs.com, http://www.dogsnow.com, and http://www.breeders.net, 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.
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. 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.
The State’s complaint alleges that Durkin violated multiple provisions of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and Pet Regulations, and asks the court to order Durkin to pay full consumer restitution as well as civil penalties and reimbursement of the State’s investigative costs and attorney’s fees.