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A.G. Schneiderman Announces $20K Agreement With Pet Store Chain Owner Who Abused Animals And Falsified Documents To Make Them Appear Healthy Enough To Sell

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2017

New York City Press Office / 212-416-8060
Albany Press Office / 518-776-2427
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A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES $20K AGREEMENT WITH PET STORE CHAIN OWNER WHO ABUSED ANIMALS AND FALSIFIED DOCUMENTS TO MAKE THEM APPEAR HEALTHY ENOUGH TO SELL

 

Richard Doyle Performed Surgery Without Veterinary Training; Falsified Documents In Order To Sell Sick Dogs To Unsuspecting Consumers; Left Sick Animals To Die

Doyle Barred From Dealing Pets; Will Pay $20K In Fees And Penalties

Schneiderman: Shutting Down Abusive Operations Like This Sends The Message That This Disturbing Behavior Won't Be Tolerated

POUGHKEEPSIE – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that pet store owner Richard Doyle has entered into an agreement with the Attorney General’s office permanently barring him from working as a pet dealer and imposing significant fines and penalties for repeated animal cruelty.

Doyle owned and operated three retail pet stores in Westchester and the Hudson Valley:  American Breeders, Inc. in Wappingers Falls, NY; Puppies and Kittens in Mohegan Lake, NY; and Best Breeds, Inc. in Larchmont, NY.  The Office of the Attorney General initiated an investigation into Doyle’s businesses in 2015 after receiving numerous complaints from consumers who purchased pets from Doyle’s stores only to discover shortly after purchase that the animals were sick.

Despite Doyle’s certification that his pets were healthy and free of disease, consumers reported that their own veterinarians found the animals to be suffering from serious health conditions such as parvo, giardiasis, pneumonia, intestinal parasites and kennel cough. In addition, the investigation revealed that Doyle falsified the names and license numbers of his suppliers in order to make it appear as though he purchased animals from reputable sources.

“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 Attorney General Schneiderman. “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.”

The Attorney General’s 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. These 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.  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.   

This investigation is the latest in the Attorney General’s ongoing Animal Protection Initiative, which launched in May 2013. The initiative seeks to help consumers and animals alike by cracking down on animal cruelty, shutting down criminal animal fighting rings and bringing to justice those who unscrupulously sell animals to unsuspecting consumers. The Initiative is comprised of Investigators and Assistant Attorneys General from around the state, the OAG's Regional Offices, the Consumer Fraud Bureau, the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, the Organized Crime Task Force and the Investigations Bureau.

Per the terms of the voluntary agreement, Richard Doyle is permanently barred from operating a pet sales business and must surrender all licenses relative to the sale of animals. Furthermore, he is required to pay $15,000 in restitution which will be distributed to the consumers who purchased sick animals from his stores and $5,000 in penalties and costs to the state.   

The Attorney General urges those interested in bringing home a dog or cat to adopt, not shop for their new best friend. By adopting from a local SPCA or shelter, an animal in need gets a home, and space and resources are freed up for the facility to take in more homeless dogs. In turn, the new owner can ensure that they are receiving a healthy pet, as these dogs have been fully vetted, immunized and given a clean bill of health. 

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Barry of the Poughkeepsie Regional Office, with assistance from Investigators Stephanie Brideau and Adrienne DeGaetano, under the supervision of Poughkeepsie Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge Jill F. Faber and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices Martin J. Mack.