Court Rules in Favor of Victims of Online Puppy Trafficking
A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge recently handed down a Decision on a long running animal abuse trial. The case stems from online puppy trafficking by a California family that sold sick Goldendoodle puppies to unsuspecting families. The breed, health and gender of the puppies were misrepresented. Families paid more than $1,000 cash per puppy. When the dogs became ill and the families contacted the sellers, they were harassed. In some cases, the dogs had been dyed, so that their reddish brown color washed out in the bath, revealing a white puppy.
After a week-long bench trial, the Court issued an injunction against Defendants, preventing them from ever again advertising or selling dogs. The Court noted in its Decision “…it is apparent that Defendants have no intention of stopping their illegal sales of puppies…A strong deterrent is clearly called for in this case.”
The Court awarded damages for the cost of the dogs, their treatment and for emotional distress to the families, noting “The Defendants’ scheme is especially heinous due to the physical suffering of the puppies and the resulting emotional toll their illnesses and deaths took on innocent families”. After making a finding of malice, oppression and fraud, the Court held a Phase Two trial, and ultimately imposed $100,000.00 in punitive damages.
Gary Praglin, a Partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy said,
"This is a victory for animal rights. These families and their puppies suffered terribly. This Decision protects people and animals. Awarding emotional distress damages for animal abuse recognizes puppies as family.”
Theresa Vitale, an attorney at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy said,
“The Plaintiffs, who were harassed and intimidated by Defendants after spending weeks trying to save their sick and dying puppies, are grateful that justice has prevailed in this case and that Defendants can never again harm innocent puppies or families with their false advertising scheme.”
The Plaintiffs were represented by Gary Praglin and Theresa Vitale of Cotchett, Pitre & Mcarthy. Plaintiff CARU was represented by Christopher Berry and Asha Brundage-Moore of Animal Legal Defense Fund.
The case name is Jessica Loy v. Trina Kenney, et. al 19STCV45035.