Attorney General Announces Settlement With Queens Pet Broker That Sold Puppies With Innacurate Pedigrees

NEW YORK, NY (March 23, 2007) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a settlement with a Queens pet broker that had sold puppies with inaccurate pedigrees. Rare Breeds, Inc., located in Ozone Park, buys dogs from other brokers and sells them to retail pet stores in New York and New Jersey. Some of the puppies sold by Rare Breeds had been imported from Hungary with inaccurate documentation that led customers to believe the dogs purchased were of champion lineage, when in fact they were not.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said, “Whether consumers are buying a puppy, electronics, or auto insurance, they have the right to know they’re getting what they’re paying for. A Ford can’t be sold as a Ferrari, and the same goes for pets. This office will not tolerate marketing misrepresentations in any industry.”

Cuomo’s office began an investigation after receiving complaints from consumers who said that the pedigrees provided with the puppies they had purchased contained material misrepresentations. The investigation determined that the puppies had been imported by Rare Breeds, Inc. from Hungary through a Hungarian broker, Bela Mustov, who operates a business known as Hungary Pets, PT. Although all the puppies were purebreds, the pedigrees provided with the puppies from the European Kennel Club Hungarian Division contained misrepresentations concerning the dogs’ lineage, kennel names, or breeder names, so that consumers were misled into believing the puppies had champion lineages.

In resolving the investigation, Rare Breeds agreed to discontinue importing dogs from Hungary with pedigree documents from the European Kennel Club Hungarian Division, or other kennel clubs with which Bela Mustov is affiliated, and to use reasonable care to ensure that the representations in the pedigrees provided to consumers are true and complete. Rare Breeds also agreed to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $20,000.

The agreement will help ensure that a consumer receives full and accurate information regarding a dog’s pedigree so that the consumer can make an informed purchasing decision.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Victoria Safran, under the supervision of Valerie Singleton, Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Nassau Regional Office.