Palm Beach Gardens and Miami, Fla.— Members of The Humane Society of the United States and other consumers have filed a lawsuit alleging that Florida-based internet puppy broker Purebred Breeders, LLC, (PBB) is selling unhealthy puppy-mill puppies to unsuspecting consumers across the country. Purebred Breeders is one of the largest Internet sellers of puppies in the country. An investigation featured on NBC’s Today Show this morning highlighted the connection between Purebred Breeders and inhumane commercial breeding facilities known as puppy mills, where dogs are often stacked in cramped wire cages, with no exercise, veterinary care, socialization, or human companionship.
The lawsuit, filed in Florida state court by the consumer justice law firm Leopold Law P.A., along with attorneys from The HSUS, alleges that PBB is violating state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers into believing that the puppies it sells are healthy and come from high-quality breeders. In fact, many of the puppies sold by PBB come from inhumane, overcrowded breeding facilities known as puppy mills, and as a result often suffer from various diseases and ailments common to puppy mill puppies.
“Our goal in this lawsuit is to expose the deceptive practices of Purebred Breeders and achieve justice for the consumers and animals that the company mistreats,” said Ted Leopold, the lead attorney in the case. “Ultimately, we hope to not only reveal the shameful treatment of animals perpetuated by Purebred Breeders, but to ensure that consumers across the country will be educated and hold breeders to ethical and humane standards that should never be compromised.”
Puppy mills are large-scale breeding operations where the welfare of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits. They are treated not like family pets, but like a cash crop. PBB denies it sells dogs from these substandard breeding facilities, and claims on its website to “fight against” puppy mills and to sell only dogs from “responsible” breeders. PBB’s website also claims that consumers can rest assured that they will receive a “happy, healthy puppy.” These statements are untrue, as demonstrated by the documented experiences of the plaintiffs and so many other consumers throughout the country who received sick puppies from PBB.
“Purebred Breeders reaps massive profits by purchasing puppies from puppy mills around the country and selling them at a huge mark-up to well-intentioned dog lovers who would never knowingly buy a puppy mill dog," said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president & chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS. "Families often bear the great expense of veterinary treatment for sick dogs, or the terrible anguish of losing a beloved family pet. Internet puppy sellers like PBB are able to deceive consumers about the origins of the puppies because consumers are not able to examine the breeders’ facility. It’s time to pull back the curtain on this fraudulent industry.”
The lawsuit requests a jury trial on behalf of the consumer plaintiffs, and seeks reimbursement of the puppies' purchase price along with compensation for all related monetary damages. Injunctive relief is also being sought to stop the deceptive advertising and business practices of Purebred Breeders.
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