New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Pet Stores

December 16, 2021

a black and white dog in cage

Today, the ASPCA joined the New York Attorney General Letitia James at a press conference announcing a lawsuit against Shake A Paw®, a retail pet shop that sells puppies, for unlawfully and deceptively selling sick puppies to unsuspecting consumers at its two Long Island locations. The lawsuit claims Shake A Paw falsely advertised sick pets as healthy, fabricated health certificates, failed to disclose animals’ medical conditions, misrepresented puppies’ breeds and refused to reimburse consumers for veterinary bills.

Press Conference announcing lawsuit

ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker spoke at the press conference announcing New York State’s lawsuit against Shake A Paw.  

An investigation by the Office of Attorney General found that Shake A Paw sold puppies with serious illnesses–some puppies even passed away within days or weeks of purchase. The investigation also uncovered puppies suffering from serious illnesses and congenital defects and puppies who displayed visible signs of illness, even though they received certificates of health signed by Shake A Paw-contracted veterinarians. 

Though Shake A Paw claims they do not buy animals from puppy mills, puppy import records show otherwise, and like other puppy-selling pet stores throughout the U.S., Shake A Paw buys puppies from out-of-state commercial breeding facilities where dogs are often kept in cruel, inhumane conditions. 

Records also show that Daniel Gingerich was shipping puppies to Shake A Paw–this is the same commercial breeder from Iowa who was recently forced to surrender over 500 dogs after the U.S. Department of Agriculture documented more than 200 violations of the Animal Welfare Act and legal action was taken by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Based on documents filed with New York State, more than one-third of New York’s puppy-selling pet stores, including the Shake A Paw stores, imported puppies from Gingerich–all to be sold to unsuspecting families. 

“New York State has one of the country’s highest number of puppy-selling pet stores, which sell puppies from out-of-state, commercial breeding facilities—known as puppy mills—where puppies are cruelly bred without regard for their health or well-being,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO. “Every year, thousands of these puppies are marketed in New York pet stores as healthy dogs from responsible breeders, which is far from the truth. We are grateful to Attorney General Tish James for taking decisive and compassionate action to shut down this pipeline to protect both animals and consumers.” 
Legislation was recently introduced by Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal–the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill–which would finally end the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York pet stores. New Yorkers should contact their state legislators through our online form and ask them to support this important bill.
No matter what state you are in, stay up-to-date on the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill and receive alerts when it’s time to take action by joining our Advocacy Brigade. And, learn how you can avoid the cruelty of puppy mills!