NEW YORK (NEWS10) — New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced an agreement with Bell Pet Company, LLC (Bell Pet), which does business as The Pet Zone, for tricking consumers into purchasing sick pets. According to AG James, customers received incomplete medical records to hide past illnesses.

Although The Pet Zone offered an online tracking system called “PetKey”, which offered a full list of medications to customers, the Office of the Attorney General discovered PetKey failed to list medication on several occasions. This included antibiotics, and once the pets were brought home, they became sick due.

“Deceiving families into buying sick puppies and kittens is not only cruel, it’s illegal,” said Attorney General James. “The Pet Zone turned a happy moment of bringing home a new pet into misery for pet owners when they discovered that their pet was sick and that they had to pay expensive medical bills to help them recover. This agreement will ensure that no one is deceived about the health of a pet they bring home. I encourage any individual who purchased a pet from The Pet Zone and was misled about their health to file a claim for reimbursement.”

The Pet Zone, which has stores in Albany, Poughkeepsie, Watertown, and Queensbury, will have to pay a civil penalty and create a restitution fund of up to $200,000 to reimburse eligible consumers for medical costs. Individuals who purchased pets in or after January 2014 and within 14 days of purchase, and received a certification from a veterinarian that their pet was sick or unfit for sale, qualify.

Within the next 30 days, The Pet Zone is required to post information about submitting claims for anyone who believes they may be eligible to seek reimbursement. Those who have questions about the settlement are encouraged to contact the OAG Watertown Regional office at (315) 523-6080.