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Update – February 17 - I am on the road and my internet access will be limited until March, but I wanted to follow-up on the Hearing of the Brick Township Council on February 14th, regarding ,”Puppies Galore.”  According to Courtney Fisher Keys, the business license for Puppies Galore has been permanently revoked in the Township.  Furthermore, the Brick Township Council is looking into an ordinance that would ban all retail pet stores in Brick Township.  Courtney, and her group of Peaceful Protestors, are planning another demonstration outside PUPPIES in Brick on Rte. 70 (in the strip mall next to Target) on Saturday, March 3rd at noon.

I would also like my readers to familiarize themselves with the case of Little Brown Dog (LBD) and the ongoing fight for him to receive true justice.  You can read and join in the effort by going to: http://askwilliewonka.blogspot.com/2012/02/justice-for-lbd-little-brown-dog.html?spref=fb

In late January, thirty-nine very unhealthy puppies were removed from Puppies Galore in Brick Township, NJ.  http://brick.patch.com/articles/officials-remove-sick-puppies-from-brick-pet-store Daniel Nee, of the Brick Patch on-line news service, broke the story that after an ongoing collaborative effort, the shop owned by Nat Sladkin and Maria DeSantis, had been raided and closed. http://brick.patch.com/articles/pet-store-operators-charged-with-42-counts-of-animal-cruelty?ncid=following_comment

Puppies Galore had opened in late fall, sandwiched between a diner and a bakery in a strip mall on Route 70.  Sladkin, as many locals might recall, is the former owner of the now defunct Puppy Depot in Point Pleasant Beach, just a short drive from his recently shut-down operation in Brick.

Among the responders on the Patch article comment thread was Janice Fisher, a woman who with her family and friends has been arranging Peaceful Demonstrations outside of these establishments in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.  Janice explained that there was a demonstration planned for outside another puppy retailer just about a mile down the road (owned by another party) also located in a strip mall next to Target on Route 70.  As I had wanted to attend one of these events, I said I would be there.

The day was damp and cold, but it didn’t squelch the enthusiasm of Janice and her crew.  When I arrived, they told me where to park (part of the police ordinance calls for the participants not to take up parking spaces needed for customers of all the shops) and what line not to cross (a spindly tree which we were not to step beyond).  Janice commented on the low turnout noting some members of their group were protesting a similar establishment up in the next county.

Last December, I had interviewed another protest organizer, Jacki Flanigan,http://nationaldogweekbook.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/be-aware-of-where-you-get-your-dog/  I had been told that there was a certain protocol to follow; sign holders could not use abusive or threatening language toward customers visiting the Puppy Shop and must maintain a designated distance from the store’s entrance. Janice also offered participants ready-made signs that read, “Google Puppymills” and others that announced, “Meet the parents of your Puppy.”  They also handed out literature and presented photos of what really goes on at the mills across the country.

As Janice, husband Dave, daughter Courtney and her husband, held signs with about four other protestors, near the busy road, many cars honked in support as they passed. Before long, I noticed a young man sitting in a small gray car directly in front of the information table.  He sat quietly in a knit cap, cigarette in one hand, camcorder in the other. Janice explained he was working for the store, recording every move and action of the protestors.

Despite this, in my two hours there, I saw two pups being carried out of the store.  Families averted their eyes from the protestors, but some of the young children peered over their shoulder, curious to know what was wrong. Hopefully, their puppy will be healthy, but perhaps they may at a later time investigate for themselves. Still other groups of people came up on the hill to talk to Janice and Courtney, genuinely interested and some appearing shocked.

“What does the staff tell their customers about you?” I asked Janice. “They tell them we are just crazy or we are protesting fur,” she replied.

I spoke to a number of people who had acquired their puppies from this shop owned by Lorin Kisland, a man associated with a couple named Bauck who are well-known “players” in the mill trade with a long. (Google away here).They spoke of health issues, ever-growing vet bills and the indifference and lack of responsibility on the part of the shop’s management.  The stories I heard and the revolting photos I saw were enough to make anyone who claims to be an animal-lover get up and do something.

It is estimated that 90 percent of all of these pups come from puppy mills.  According to Janice, people often learn their dog is a mill pup only after having signed the purchase contract. To those who claim their purchased pup has a certificate of pedigree (making all legit), yes, it may, but the AKC only requires that the parents of the pup are purebreds, (that is the only “standard” requirement), and make $25.00 for each certified pup.

BUT…and this is very important.  There is something called the Pet Purchase Protection Law also called the “Puppy Lemon Law.” If you have bought a pet and then obtained an “unfit for sale” certificate from your vet, or have another complaint that has not been satisfied or remedied by these local stores, you can:

-        Contact the NJ Dept of Consumer Affairs at (973) 504-6200

-        You MUST contact the ocean County Board of Health – (732) 341-9700.

You can report your case to Pet Watch NJ by going to www.pwnj.org (they keep records of all pet store complaints in the state for consumer education).

All others should inquire of similar options available in their own states.

I know this is a very brief post about a very big problem. Janice’s group will be at the same location on Saturday at noon.  There is also a scheduled hearing about the fate of these retailers in Brick Township to be held on February 14th.  If you wish to receive more information: JFDF2@optonline.net.

During National Dog Week, 2010, the Mayor of Brick, Stephen Acropolis, declared Brick Township a National Dog Week Community at the town’s First Dog Fest in front of an appreciative dog-loving crowd.  I know he is on the side of man’s best friend and I am hoping he will rid this town of these establishments. As for the thirty-nine sick puppies, they have received the proper medical treatment and are being housed at three different shelters.

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