A pet store owner with stores in the Hudson Valley has been permanently barred from working as a pet dealer and will pay $20,000 in fees and penalties as part of a plea agreement for repeated animal cruelty, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Monday afternoon.
Richard Doyle of Mahopac, who owned and operated three retail pet stores in Westchester and the Hudson Valley: American Breeders, Inc. in Wappingers Falls; Puppies and Kittens in Mohegan Lake, and Best Breeds, Inc. in Larchmont, took part in practices that resulted in sick dogs being sold and even dying, said a statement from Schneiderman.
The Attorney General began the investigation into Doyle’s businesses in 2015 after receiving complaints from consumers who purchased pets from one of Doyle's stores, only to find out later they had serious health problems, Schneiderman said.
The investigation also uncovered a number of disturbing practices carried out by Doyle and his staff in an effort to make sick animals appear healthy and maximize sales. For example, it was found that Doyle, who is not a veterinarian, regularly performed surgery on animals in the back rooms of his stores.
Doyle also ordered high-school aged employees to routinely administer injectable medications and intravenous fluids to mask rather than cure diseases and infections in sick animals. Doyle would then lie or ask his young employees to lie to the inspecting veterinarians regarding the illnesses so the veterinarians would not mark the animals unfit for sale, Schneiderman said.
“By shutting down stores that mistreat animals – and sell sick animals - we can help ensure that consumers are purchasing healthy pets while protecting the animals themselves from those who break the law to turn a profit,” said Schneiderman.
The investigation also found that the procedures were not carried out in a sanitary environment and there was no veterinarian supervision or approval. Syringes were re-used and pre and post-operative infection control was not practiced, the statement said.
In some cases, when Doyle was unable to “cure” an animal himself, he let the sick animal suffer and, in some cases left it to die, rather than paying for routine veterinary care, Schneiderman said.
“Disturbing cases like these reaffirm my commitment to encouraging those in search of a new pet to adopt from a local shelter, rather than purchasing an animal. This gives an animal in need a home, and gives the consumer the peace of mind that they are receiving a healthy pet," he added.
Under the order, Doyle will be required to pay $15,000 to customers who purchased sick animals at his stores, as well as $5,000 in fines to the state.
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