A Syracuse woman that illegally resold or "flipped" puppies has been permanently barred from selling animals or becoming a licensed pet dealer.
The Attorney General's office reached an agreement with the Cleveland, NY woman who bought puppies on Craigslist, kept them in poor condition without access to a veterinarian, and resold them illegally.
"Today's developments are a win-win. By shutting down operations where animals are being illegally sold, we can help ensure that consumers are purchasing healthy pets, while protecting the animals themselves from those who break the law to turn a profit," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "In holding these individuals accountable, we are sending the message that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated."
Carissa Seaman bought the puppies from Craigslist and the trading post of a local radio station, and in some cases, she obtained them for free. She then resold the dogs to consumers for more money than she paid for them and pocketed the difference. Officials say she sold more than two dozen dogs.
Seaman kept the dogs in her home but treated them poorly, and none of the dogs sold by Seaman received veterinarian care. In July of 2013, she offered to sell a five week old St. Bernard puppy that had fleas and flea feces on its skin to two undercover investigators from the Attorney General's office. Another seven month old fawn pug for sale had two patches of fur missing from his back revealing raw and irritated skin.
Seaman is permanently barred from selling animals or ever becoming a pet dealer based on the voluntary agreement.
The Attorney General's office also banned a Buffalo woman from selling pets. Self-confessed "puppy flipper" Stephanie Arcara illegally sold dozens of puppies to unsuspecting consumers, most often on Craigslist. Arcara misrepresented her self as a dog breeder, but instead, purchased the puppies from Craigslist herself. She also claimed the dogs were current on their shots and had received veterinary care, and lied about the dogs' breeds.
One consumer told the Attorney General's office that she purchased a dog from Arcara that was covered in feces and urine, had patches of hair missing on its body and was very thin. Another reported that a puppy he purchased from Arcara was dehydrated and suffered from constant seizures. One puppy even died shortly after Arcara sold it.
A court order has also barred Arcara from selling animals or becoming a pet dealer, and is also required to pay $1,000 in restitution to the individual whose puppy died.
When choosing to go through a seller as opposed to a shelter, the Attorney General's office advises you to follow these guidelines:
?Avoid sites like Craigslist, which are unregulated and enable unlicensed individuals to sell and flip pets.
?Get the address of the seller and inspect where the seller houses the puppies. Do not buy a puppy from a seller who refused to allow you to do this.
?Prior to buying a puppy, ask the seller where he or she obtained it. If the seller is not the breeder, ask for the breeder's name. If the seller does not have the breeder's name, think twice about buying the puppy.
?Find out the age of the puppy. A puppy should not be sold until it is eight weeks old, so that it can be weaned from its mother.
?Ask for proof of all veterinary care the puppy has received, including records of inoculations and worming treatments administered, as well as the dates and types of vaccines.
?Inspect the puppy for indications of poor health (low weight, patches of missing hair, runny eyes or snout, the ears and bottom are not clean).
?If the seller says that the dog is registered with a kennel club, obtain the registration certificate and pedigree when you pick up your puppy.
?Obtain a signed statement assuring that the dog has no known illness or disease or congenital or hereditary condition, or a record of any known illness or congenital condition and a letter from a licensed vet verifying that the disease does not require hospitalization or non-elective surgery.
?Dealers should notify that you need to license your dog in your municipality and provide information about spaying and neutering your new dog.
The Attorney General's office also says that pet owners should be aware of "flippers" when giving up their pets, and to always go through an authorized facility, like the SPCA. For more information on Attorney General Schneider man's Animal Protection Initiative, visit www.ag.ny.gov/animals.