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Post date: August 31 2016

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Order Forcing Former Pet Adoption Center That Sold Dying Pets To Pay Over $28K To Humane Society

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

August 31, 2016

New York City Press Office / 212-416-8060
Albany Press Office / 518-776-2427
Twitter: @AGSchneiderman


Consent Order Transfers Pet Adoption Center’s $28K Assets To Local Humane Society After Center Sold Dying Pets To Unsuspecting Families 

Schneiderman: Through Our Animal Protection Initiative, We Will Work To Protect New York Families And Animals From Businesses That Exploit Them For Profit 

ROCHESTER – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that a Monroe County Supreme Court has ordered the former Scottsville Veterinary Adoptions, Inc. to distribute its assets to the Humane Society of Rochester and Monroe County FPCA commonly known as Lollypop Farm, another similar charitable organization.  In May, the Attorney General obtained an order dissolving the not-for-profit pet adoption center operating in Scottsville, New York. After a financial review requested by the Attorney General, the former pet adoption center has agreed to give-up its assets that were purchased from donations it received when it was as a not-for-profit organization. Based on the court order filed today, Scottsville Veterinary Adoptions, Inc. will pay the Rochester Humane Society $28,366.

“Businesses that hide behind a non-profit status to evade the consumer protections of the Pet Lemon Law take advantage of unsuspecting consumers who are looking to rescue a pet in need of a home,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Through our Animal Protection Initiative, my office will continue fighting to protect all New Yorkers – humans and animals alike –  from unscrupulous businesses that exploit them for profit.”

The adoption center sold sick pets to consumers that died shortly after purchase.  As a not-for-profit corporation, Scottsville Veterinary Adoptions, Inc. was not required to comply with minimum standards of animal care required by Agriculture and Markets Law section 410, which only apply to pet stores and commercial breeders. Furthermore, pet adopters have no recourse under General Business Law section 753 (the so-called "Pet Lemon Law") when adopting from a not-for-profit corporation, even though the name "Scottsville Veterinary Adoptions" implies that the pets offered were fully screened and healthy.  Moreover, the adoption center is located in the same facility as Scottsville Veterinary Hospital a for-profit business which is owned by Stephen R. Berghash, D.V.M., the incorporator and president of Scottsville Veterinary Adoption, Inc.

The Attorney General’s investigation revealed many instances of sick pets that were not diagnosed as sick and not quarantined.  As a result, the adoption center sold sick pets that were supposedly examined and cleared by the veterinary hospital at the same facility.  As a result of the dissolution, the adoption center can no longer operate as a non-profit organization and from now on will be subject to inspections by the New York Agriculture and Markets department and comply with the New York Pet Lemon Law. 

New York State's Pet Lemon Law is designed to safeguard the public and to ensure the humane treatment of dogs and cats by requiring pet dealers to guarantee the good health of any such animal sold by a pet dealer to a consumer.

The Attorney General’s Animal Protection Initiative aims at ensuring compliance with New York State's Pet Lemon Law, designed to safeguard the public and to ensure the humane treatment of dogs and cats by requiring pet dealers to guarantee the good health of any such animal sold by a pet dealer to a consumer.

The Attorney General acknowledges the assistance of Inv. Reno Di Domenico, Director of Law Enforcement at the Humane Society of Greater Rochester. The investigation was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Audrey Cooper and Benjamin Bruce both of the Rochester Regional Office which is headed by Ted O’Brien, the Rochester Regional Office is in the Division of Regional Affairs headed by Executive Deputy Attorney General Marty Mack.

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