PARSIPPANY — At the Parsippany-Troy Hills Council Meeting on Tuesday, February 8 Leslie Moran and Kathryn Neice proposed to the council to adopt an ordinance banning retail sale of dogs and cats.
Ms. Moran explained that Randolph adopted a similar ordinance in 2014, and the Morris County Freeholders had passed a resolution in July encouraging municipalities to adopt similar ordinances. The council was provided with materials from the ASPCA describing the inhumane conditions that typify large scale dog breeding operations.
The Council members were reminded of the serious problems that have arisen at the various Just Pups stores, resulting in their closure.
Although the Just Pups, 325 Route 10, East Hanover had remained open until recently when East Hanover Township Health Officer ordered the store closed. Included in the materials left with the Council was also the “New Jersey Pet Store Report: Puppy Mills and Poor Conditions” compiled by the Humane Society of the United States. This report states that the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs has cited many pet stores across the state for violations of the PPPA (Pet Purchase Protection Act).
The HSUS report mentions the state’s action against Just Pups and Mr. LoSacco who “was also facing hundreds of animal cruelty charges related to the alleged mistreatment of puppies…sold sick puppies and deceived consumers.” The council was provided with a press release from the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs detailing the six-count complaint.
Ms. Moran concluded her remarks by suggesting that Parsippany move proactively to enact an ordinance thus avoiding the problems encountered by other towns. More than 80 New Jersey municipalities have enacted ordinances restricting retail sale of dogs and cats.
Council President Lou Valori said “I support the banning of these organizations. Puppy mills are one of the largest and the most systemic forms of animal cruelty in this country. The public needs to be educated on these horrific abuses.”
“I support a resolution that bans the sale of dogs and cats if they are not humanely treated. I would rather see people adopt animals to make them part of their family from great organizations such as St. Hubert’s and 11th Hour Rescue and Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter. Think about adopting or volunteering at these shelters today,” stated Council Vice President Robert Peluso.
Currently, there are no locations that sell dogs within the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills.
Just Pets was shut down on Saturday, February 4 after East Hanover Township Health Officer Carlo DiLizia ordered the dogs at the location be quarantined, claiming store owner Vincent LoSacco remained in violation of 32 summonses against the store that LoSacco has not remediated as promised.
DiLizia also noted that on or about January 23 “you imported 68 canine puppies without having the appropriate import verification from a licensed veterinarian the state of origin as required by (law), which would confirm the canines are free from rabies and other communicable diseases.”
DiLizia noted when the department did a follow up investigation on Wednesday, February 1, “We confirmed that at least three canine puppies died and at least two puppies had signs of communicable diseases while being housed in the general population.”
DiLizia ordered the store to quarantine all the animals “until a licensed veterinarian can determine that all animals no longer pose a risk of transmission to humans or other animals.”
DiLizia said the matter would be brought before the Township Council with the recommendation LoSacco’s license to operate is revoked.
A hearing on summonses issued to LoSacco was to take place on Thursday, February 9, but due to the snow storm East Hanover Municipal Court was closed, and the case has been rescheduled. Parsippany Focus will contact the Municipal Court to determine the new court date.
It has been a year since LoSacco’s pet store operations first made news.
Three dead dogs had been found in the freezer of the East Brunswick Just Pups store in February 2016. That store was shut down by East Brunswick.
Vincent LoSacco was charged following the discovery of 67 dogs in a van behind his Paramus store in April 2016.
LoSacco pleaded guilty to four health-code violations and was ordered to pay $19,000 in restitution. He originally faced hundreds of charges related to the incident, but the majority of those charges were dropped.
His Paramus store closed when LoSacco failed to reapply for a license.
A Just Pups store in Emerson closed in July, 2016.
Pet Pourri, Inc. which was housed in the Rockaway Townsquare Mall received 71 violations and was fined $13,800 for its wrongdoing, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs announced. The store, along with 16 others in the state, were cited for violating the pet purchase protection act. If the store does not pay the amount presented by the state, it will pay a higher amount of $34,500. The store closed at the end of 2015.