PETITION TARGET: New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin
UPDATE (11/10/2023): We sent our petition and an official complaint with documentation from our undercover investigations to authorities, which we learned has since been closed. Although the authorities told us that no investigations resulted “solely from the complaint filed by Lady Freethinker,” we’ve learned that one of the pet shops we investigated was inspected and fined $8,129.58 a few months later for multiple violations. We thank everyone who signed our petition and spoke up for these sweet dogs, and we’ll keep doing all we can for animals. —Lady Freethinker Staff
Puppies covered in urine, cowering in corners of barren displays, and showing symptoms including bloody stools and quivering that led one vet to voice concerns that they could be “medically ill” or contagious – those are just some of the conditions uncovered by a Lady Freethinker (LFT) investigator who visited 14 pet stores in New Jersey.
The investigator documented puppies selling for thousands of dollars who were stained with urine and feces and dogs whose diarrhea and stools were flecked with blood.
The investigator also witnessed dogs with dried nasal discharge, possible eye issues, and overgrown toenails.
Other issues reported by the investigator included dogs in enclosures with seemingly no access to water and puppies without any type of bedding, toys, or enrichment.
While New Jersey’s Pet Purchase Protection Act requires pet stores to post detailed breeder information, a Lady Freethinker analysis determined that 11 of 14 of the stores visited by the investigator — or nearly 79 percent of pet stores visited— were missing some of this information, had posted outdated information, or refused point blank to share breeder information prior to purchase.
That lack of transparent information is doubly concerning given that numerous store associates told the investigator their stores were not sourcing from facilities with more than 100 dogs — with one store associate going so far as to say, “Imagine a farm, where dogs run around happy.”
The reality was that the posted breeders averaged 114 dogs at their facilities, according to an LFT analysis of federal inspection reports— with one facility alone having 589 dogs.
Six states, recognizing that puppies sourced from operations housing hundreds of dogs often suffer horrific conditions, have banned retail sales of puppies coming from breeders.
It’s time for New Jersey to do the same.
Puppies and dogs deserve to live free from exploitation, and the millions of friendly and adoptable animals in U.S. shelters deserve a better chance at landing loving forever homes.
Sign our petition urging the New Jersey Attorney General to review LFT’s findings and ensure these pet stores are operating within established consumer protection laws and to exact immediate welfare and transparency changes if they are not.