May 12, 2005
AG Corbett to obtain court approval for tougher restrictions on Lancaster County kennel; Owners of ?Puppy Love? pay more than $50,000 to consumers
HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett today announced that the owners of a Lancaster County kennel will pay more than $50,000 to consumers who purchased sick or diseased animals, $25,000 in fines and investigation costs, and be required to comply with much stricter standards in the sale of puppies in the future.
Corbett said the restitution, fines and operating terms are part of a consent petition filed today in Commonwealth Court against Raymond and Joyce Stoltzfus, the owners of Puppy Love Kennel, 267 Riverview Road, Peach Bottom, Lancaster County.
The defendants were accused of selling sick or diseased dogs that, at the time of sale, were misrepresented as healthy and fit. In addition, misrepresentations were made about the age of the puppies and their status and registration as purebreds.
The Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection investigated complaints from consumers located in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia who said the puppies that they purchased from the defendants required veterinary treatment for a variety of ailments including: parasites, upper respiratory infections, distemper, tapeworms, pneumonia, deafness, malnutrition, heart defects, hip dysplasia, parvo virus, kidney failure and other congenital illnesses.
Consumers told Corbett's Office that Joyce Stolzfus rarely responded to their repeated complaints about the health of their puppies. If she did respond, many consumers said she was confrontational or hostile. The Commonwealth believes the defendants routinely denied consumers their rights under the Dog Purchaser Protection Act or "Puppy Lemon" law, unless the consumer complained or threatened to complain to the Attorney General's Office.
"Our consent petition forces the owners of Puppy Love Kennel to comply with the toughest restrictions ever placed on a dog seller in Pennsylvania," Corbett said. "The enhanced consumer restitution and strict sales and animal management guidelines are in place to stop this kennel from selling sick, diseased or defective animals."
Corbett said, "The restrictions imposed go beyond what is currently required in the state and represent many of the changes that I would like to see in our existing law to further protect these young animals and their new owners."
Corbett said many of the enhanced restitution and guidelines required in the consent petition were modeled after dog protection laws already in place in New Jersey and other states.
Under the terms of the consent, the defendants are required to:
Corbett encouraged consumers who suspect that they are entitled to restitution in this case to contact his Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555 to obtain a complaint form. Complaints can also be filed online by visiting www.attorneygeneral.gov.
Consumers eligible for restitution can expect to receive payment within 30 days. The case was handled by Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank T. Donaghue of Corbett's Bureau of Consumer Protection in Harrisburg.