“This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.”
Nearly 70 puppies and small dogs are now in the care of animal control officials after being found locked in steel cages inside a parked van behind a Paramus, New Jersey pet store in the middle of the night.
Two Paramus Police officers were patrolling the area when they saw a van parked in the rear of the shopping complex. As they approached the 2002 Freightliner Sprinter van, they heard crying and whining and were immediately met with an overwhelming smell of urine and feces.
Officers opened the van using an unlocked side door, and found 67 puppies and small dogs crammed into cages, stacked on top of one another. Each tiny cage housed between 2 and 4 dogs, the dogs unable to even stand. Many of the cages did not contain food or water. Dogs were covered in urine and feces. Temperature inside the van when the puppies were found was 38-degrees.
The store, Just Pups, is the Paramus branch of a chain owned by Vincent LoSacco. LoSacco owns and operates four pet shops in New Jersey – East Brunswick, Emerson, Paramus and East Hanover – and operates a large-scale breeding facility in Missouri. LoSacco, you may recall, is currently facing 267 animal abuse charges in relation to his East Brunswick location where, just last week, his business license was revoked.
The charges are mostly from the lack of adequate infection control procedures, poor and improper veterinary care and the co-mingling of sick animals with new animals just brought into the store. Several animals purchased at the store were found to be “sick and unfit for sale” after being examined by veterinarians. The NJSPCA said it found three dead dogs in a freezer.
Just three weeks ago, LoSacco posted the following video to YouTube denouncing the allegations against his East Bruswick store:
LoSacco claimed that the cages in the “specially equipped transport van” found early Monday morning were not overcrowded, that there were at least 8 empty cages in the van and those with multiple dogs were likely litters. He said the low temperature reading inside the van was because police opened the door, letting the cold outside air in. The van was equipped with a small space heater. He claims that the dogs became covered in feces when police and animal control officials loaded the van full of puppies onto a flatbed tow truck to transport them.
Sixty-seven dogs in total were taken to Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus. Of those, 15 were in need of medical care. The dogs rescued from the van were various breeds including Golden retrievers, Labradors, and terrier-mixes. When they were found, the dogs were in the process of being transported to the Paramus store from LoSacco’s breeding facility in Missouri.
The incident is being investigated by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Animal Cruelty Task Force, Paramus police detectives and the Paramus Health Department. The store has been closed pending an investigation.
WEIGH IN! The incident has left dog lovers in New Jersey and around the world in shock.
How could a man under investigation for 267 counts of animal cruelty still be legally allowed to operate multiple pet stores and a large-scale breeding operation (read: puppy mill)?
Why is this man not in jail?
How could authorities have prevented this from happening in the first place?
Please, leave a comment below.