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Pet store faces lawsuit for improper care

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) - The state attorney general's office has a filed lawsuit against The Pet Zone for improperly caring for its pets and deceptive business practices.

The Pet Zone has two stores in the Capital Region, one in Albany and one in Queensbury. A former employee said the illegal practices have been going on for years and that owners and managers tried to cover them up.

“It was all about the money,” Tayla Baldauf said. “It was never about the dogs.”

Baldauf worked at The Pet Zone in Crossgates Mall in 2013 and 2016. She stayed to protect the dogs.

“There was a lot of times I wanted to quit there, and I would sit there and look in the kennels and look at these dogs, and I was like, ‘I can’t leave them. I really can’t,’” she said.

Overtime, she got fed up and decided to speak out, but she was fired.

“They pretty much fired me because I was exposing the indecent practices of what was going on,” she said.

Now, the attorney general’s office is involved and has filed a lawsuit against the chain for illegal and deceptive activity. It claims the store sold puppies that weren’t examined by a veterinarian, failed to inform customers of illnesses, and other fraudulent practices.

RELATED: Acting A.G. Underwood announces lawsuit to shut down pet store chain

“It’s unfortunate that these things happen,” Dr. Michael Casler, of Guilderland Animal Hospital, said.

Dr. Casler said pet shops should have a vet come in weekly to protect customers.

“To rule out any infectious diseases, you know, parasites, ear mites, fleas, ticks and so forth,” he said.

If not, close quarters could lead to more health problems.

“They weren’t cleaning the kennels properly; the dogs in the back were constantly sick,” Baldauf said.

Baldauf hopes things will change with the lawsuit.

“It’s about time,” she said.

Not just for the dogs but also the customers.

“I hope that they get some sort of comfort knowing that the dogs are going to be taken care of after this,” Baldauf said.

A Supreme Court justice issued a temporary restraining order preventing The Pet Zone from getting new dogs and adding oversight to the sale of puppies currently in their stores.

The attorney general’s office is seeking to ban The Pet Zone and its owners from selling live animals in the state and to get restitution for customers.

The Pet Zone issued the following statement to NEWS10 ABC regarding the lawsuit:

The Pet Zone unequivocally denies all of the AG's frivolous claims regarding our business practices. We have been and remain committed to supplying happy, healthy puppies to responsible pet parents. We look forward to vindicating our good name and are confident that the court will deliver the right result by dismissing this law suit. 


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