The owner of the pet store chain Just Pups was already charged with 267 counts of animal cruelty in February, and now he’s being investigated even further after 67 puppies were found locked in small cages inside a single van overnight in freezing temperatures. Vincent LoSacco, 50, denies all accusations of animal abuse.
According to the Huffington Post, passersby were alerted to the location of the puppies when they heard whimpering and whining coming from a van parked in front of one of Vincent LoSacco’s four pet store locations in Paramus, New Jersey. Authorities gained access to the van around 3 a.m. on Monday on a night where temperatures dipped below freezing. Inside the vehicle they found stacks of small cages and around 67 puppies stuck inside. The puppies had no food or water and many of them were covered in their own feces.
According to local ABC 7 news, each small cage contained between two to four puppies. The confines of the metal crates were so small that the puppies were unable to stand.
Vincent LoSacco claims the conditions the puppies were in were misunderstood by the authorities and misrepresented. Though he admitted the puppies were locked in the van overnight, LoSacco says the vehicle is specially equipped to contain puppies for long periods of time, and is fitted with a propane-powered space heater.
“There’s no crime against us. There’s no harm,” Vincent LoSacco said.
Though police reported that the 67 puppies were trapped in the cages in freezing temperatures, Vincent LoSacco asserted that the heater had been keeping the interior of the van plenty warm for the puppies, but the heat escaped as soon as they opened the doors. But police reported that the heater was “ineffective” and the van was poorly ventilated. The temperature inside the cages containing the puppies was 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
Vincent LoSacco further defended the situation by claiming that, while the puppies no longer had food and water, they had plenty when the van departed.
“There’s no law that says you can’t leave puppies or dogs or an animal in a vehicle overnight. The law requires that you can’t leave them in inhumane circumstances in a vehicle. The dogs prior to the driver leaving had full food, full water, and the independent heating unit running before the driver left.”
In defense of the puppies being covered in feces, Vincent LoSacco claimed the van must have been tilted at some point along the drive, causing all the puppies to forcibly slide into their own feces. He also claimed that the puppies only appeared afraid because the police had transported them away from the van.
“Those puppies were very clean, very vibrant, and just a little scared from their flatbed ride. Not from a regular ride,” Vincent LoSacco said.
It may be difficult for the authorities to accept Vincent LoSacco’s defense about the puppies, considering the fact that his pet store was slapped with 267 charges of animal cruelty only a few months ago. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, after animal cruelty complaints were filed against one of Vincent LoSacco’s New Jersey shops, a search led to the discovery of three dead dogs being hidden in a freezer. The NJSPCA filed the staggering 267 animal cruelty charges shortly after.
You can watch a statement provided by Vincent LoSacco about those charges in the YouTube video below.
After removing the 67 puppies from the van, police determined that all of them should have medical evaluations, which did reveal that 15 of those puppies were in need of medical treatment.
According to North Jersey, a former employee of Vincent LoSacco’s pet store said, “I’ve heard the bad things people have said about the store. But they really do care about the dogs.”
If Vincent LoSacco is found guilty of additional animal cruelty charges, how do you think he should be sentenced for abusing the puppies?
[Image via Pixabay]