A.G. Schneiderman Shuts Down North Country Sham "Seizure Alert Dog" Business
Business Owner Who Sold Untrained Dogs Around The Country Permanently Banned From Advertising Or Selling Service Dogs In The Future
Schneiderman: The Abuse Of Vulnerable Citizens And Animals Will Not Be Tolerated
ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today that his office has shut down a sham "seizure alert dog" business and banned its owner, Jon C. Sabin, from advertising or selling service dogs in the future. In a voluminous submission to the Court, Attorney General Schneiderman established that Jon C. Sabin and his for-profit business, Seizure Alert Dogs For Life, Inc., engaged in deceptive business practices, misleading consumers from New York to California, Washington State, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire into believing that he was screening and training dogs to assist their disabled children and family members in medical emergencies.
“There was absolutely no evidence whatsoever that this man took any steps to select or train these dogs as he represented," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "I will not tolerate scams which take advantage of the disadvantaged and that are abusive to animals. This man placed children and dogs at risk through his reckless practices and unfounded representations. Consumer scams come in all shapes and forms and the vulnerable and desperate are often the targets because they desperately want to believe that relief is at hand. My office is here to protect consumers and we will pursue those who do not play by the rules.”
St. Lawrence County State Supreme Court Justice David Demarest, in a May 21 decision, issued permanent injunctions forever prohibiting Sabin and Seizure Alert Dogs for Life, Inc., from advertising or selling “service dogs” alleged to be trained to respond to or assist persons suffering with epilepsy or other medical conditions. Sabin began selling “service dogs” in 2009.
In his decision, the judge highlighted false claims from Sabin and some of Sabin’s illegal business practices: “… the Petition is supported by numerous affidavits of individuals who state that the dogs are not properly trained and lack general obedience skills and temperament to function as a service dog. It should be noted that these sworn statements are from customers, witnesses and dog trainers alike. In these numerous sworn statements, customers allege Sabin delivered an insufficiently-trained dog, drank alcohol to excess and failed to adequately train the family upon delivery. When questioned, he was verbally abusive, swore, became hostile, acted in a threatening manner and abused the service animals by punching, hitting and kicking the dogs."
The Court found that Sabin produced no evidence in admissible form to challenge the Attorney General's allegations relating to proper dog selection and training.
The Attorney General's Office identified victims throughout the United States who had spent thousands of dollars -- many times by raising money through fundraisers -- to obtain Sabin's dogs. The deception was only apparent after the dogs arrived and it was realized that they were entirely untrained for service work and unsuited to the task. From the victims, there were accounts of individuals sustaining injuries when they were bitten or toppled by the "service dog" they bought from Sabin. In one case, a “service dog” sold by Sabin attacked and broke the neck of a small family dog. That was after the “service dog” attacked the family cat. In another, a dog that was provided had previously been returned to its breeder for aggression toward children.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Schneiderman announced the formation of an Animal Protection Initiative. This new statewide initiative will use civil and criminal remedies to target allegations of animal cruelty and unscrupulous sales of pets and other animals.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General In Charge Deanna R. Nelson, with the assistance of Senior Investigator Chad Shelmidine and under the supervision of Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Martin J. Mack.