Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett has filed a lawsuit against a Berks County kennel owner accused of selling sick or diseased dogs and deceiving consumers about their legal rights under the states Puppy Lemon Law.
The suit also seeks to shut down the kennel until all restitution, fines and investigation costs are paid.
The kennel owner being sued is Traci Murai, doing business as Bullie Pups R Us in the city of Douglassville.
Agents with the Bureau of Consumer Protection said that Murai, who sells imported English Bulldogs, operated a kennel which has sold more than 250 dogs since 2004 to consumers across the United States.
As of Friday afternoon, Murai had not returned DogChannels voice mail messages requesting her comment on the suit.
According to the suit, Murai required customers to sign a contract that was located on the business website. The purchaser contracts included a provision requiring consumers to forfeit their legal rights afforded to them under Pennsylvania’s Puppy Lemon Law.
We allege that consumers were falsely led to believe that it was legally acceptable to waive their rights as new pet owners, Corbett said on
In reality, sellers cannot reduce, alter or choose not to comply with any of the protections provided under state law, he said.
According to investigators, the defendant sold puppies that were sick, had infectious diseases, congenital or genetic defects, or were falsely represented as healthy dogs. Consumers complained that their puppies required veterinary care after the dogs were diagnosed with a variety of illnesses.
The suit claims that the defendant ignored those buyers’ attempts to contact her about the health of their newly purchased puppies. In addition, the defendant failed to honor consumers requests for veterinary bill payments or other medical treatment, up to the price of the puppy, as required under the states Puppy Lemon Law.
The lawsuit asks the court to require the kennel owner to:
- Pay restitution to affected consumers.
- Forfeit her right to own or operate any business involving the sale of dogs in Pennsylvania until restitution, fines and costs are paid.
- Forfeit all profits that resulted from alleged illegal business practices.
- Pay civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and $3,000 for each violation involving a consumer age 60 or older.
- Pay the states investigation costs.
The excitement of owning a new pet can sometimes distract even the savviest consumers, which is why I recommend thoroughly researching the seller and state law before adding a dog to your family, Corbett says.
Consumers wanting to file complaints in this case can contact the attorney general’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at (800) 441-2555 or at http://www.attorneygeneral.gov
Posted: May 1, 2006, 5 a.m. EST