A pet business will have to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars for misleading New Yorkers about the health of animals it sold.
As part of a settlement agreement announced by the state Attorney General’s Office Monday, Jan. 9, Bell Pet Company, doing business as The Pet Zone, agreed to pay a civil penalty and create a restitution fund of up to $200,000 to reimburse eligible consumers for medical costs.
The Attorney General’s Office said the company failed to provide complete medical records, including a full list of medication given to pets, in an attempt to hide previous illnesses.
Customers were told they could view their pet’s complete medication history through an online tracking system called “PetKey.” However, investigators found that on several occasions, the system did not accurately list medications, including antibiotics, that an animal had received.
Several puppies and kittens later became sick after they were brought home, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
“Deceiving families into buying sick puppies and kittens is not only cruel, it’s illegal,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.
“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,” she continued.
“This agreement will ensure that no one is deceived about the health of a pet they bring home.”
As part of the settlement, the company agreed to ensure that every pet has undergone an examination by a licensed veterinarian and has received all the vaccinations that are required by state law. It must also inform consumers about the requirements of the Pet Lemon Law.
The Pet Zone must also pay $2,500 in penalties to the state.
James encouraged those who purchased a pet from The Pet Zone and were misled about the animal’s health to file a claim for reimbursement.
Consumers who purchased their pets in or after January 2014, and who received a certification from their vet that their pet was sick and should have been unfit for sale, are eligible for reimbursement.
The fund will be available to qualifying consumers for 12 months.
The Pet Zone has stores in Albany, Poughkeepsie, Watertown, and Queensbury.
Those with questions about the settlement are asked to contact the Office of the Attorney General Watertown Regional office at 315-523-6080.
Click here to follow Daily Voice Bronxville and receive free news updates.