The city is probing an Upper East Side dog seller after a Humane Society sting allegedly uncovered mistreated puppies that died in the shop or were sold while sick to unsuspecting customers.
American Kennels on East 62nd Street — where an English bulldog sells for $7,000 — had “at least one dead puppy, sick puppies being sold to customers, and up to 20 puppies at a time in the store’s ‘sick rooms’,” according to a Humane Society of the US report.
An undercover investigator with a camera worked at the shop near Lexington Avenue from October to December and documented the disturbing conditions, the nonprofit claimed.
The sick canines were hidden away in the back of the store or in the cold basement, and some suffered for weeks with apparent infections, pneumonia, abscesses, diarrhea or parasites without getting veterinary care, the animal-welfare group claims.
Workers for American Kennels allegedly force-fed seriously ill puppies, including a toy poodle which weighed about a pound, and treated sick dogs with meds the store kept on hand. Many dogs were kept in feces-filled cages, the Humane Society reported.
When the sick rooms were full, dogs — many from puppy mills, investigators said — were moved to the sales floor and knowingly sold to unsuspecting families. Some of the puppies were returned, only to be placed right back into the unclean spaces instead of taken immediately to a vet, according to the report.
One potential customer was disgusted by the operation.
“I looked up their reviews and saw how many people have purchased abused and sick puppies that have often died days or weeks later. I am devastated that places like this exist,” the commenter wrote in a Dec. 11 post on uppereastsite.com.
Upper West Side resident Alexander Adam told The Post he shelled out more than $3,000 for a female Shiba Inu pup on Nov. 19, 2020, and thousands of dollars more in vet fees trying to save the life of the pooch, who died of distemper 12 days later.
Adam, 30, had bought the dog as a birthday gift for his girlfriend and the couple had named it Yuca. ”The dog had mucus coming out of its nose. I asked one of the [shop] owners what’s this all about and he said ‘it’s nothing.’”
The UWS resident said he filed complaints with the Humane Society and state Attorney General’s office following the tragedy.
“It still haunts us. We have her ashes by our bed,” Adam said.
In business since 1954, American Kennels touts itself as a local institution and “the world’s premier puppy and kitten kennel, providing healthy and happy pets to our clientele from around the world.”
The kennel’s Instagram page trumpets that it “represents ONLY USDA 🇺🇸 Licensed ‘A’ Grade Breeders 🐩🐕 & all of our pets are microchipped for verification & lifelong safety.”
The non-profit animal welfare group disagrees.
“The neglect, filth and lack of appropriate veterinary treatment that these frightened young puppies are forced to endure in this store is unacceptable,” said Kitty Block, Humane Society CEO.
The city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection confirmed to The Post it is now investigating.
“We can file charges in court and a judge would issue a decision that could order fines or restitution or other relief like ordering them to stop selling,” agency spokeswoman Abigail Lootens told The Post.
“We have reviewed the Humane Society’s disturbing report, sent our own inspectors to American Kennels and intend to enforce all applicable consumer protection laws,” Commissioner Peter A. Hatch said. “We encourage any customers who were deceived by American Kennels to file a complaint with us.”
In addition, the city Health Department “issued a cease and desist” order on Dec. 16, according to spokesman Michael Lanza, who added, “The Department continues to investigate and is placing the welfare of the dogs as our highest priority.”
American Kennels denied the allegations saying, “One puppy did pass away, with all efforts made to save her life. … We do not sell sick puppies and we take care of the vet bills as required by law for one year after purchase for any congenital defects.”