The Humane Society is asking a Florida judge to certify a class action lawsuit against Wizard of Claws, a Florida pet store, for allegedly selling sick, mill-bred puppies. This would be the first class action lawsuit that the Humane Society would have filed in their 53-year history.
“Wizard of Claws is a very bad actor but is an example of a nationwide problem,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president of the animal protection litigation for the Humane Society of the United States. “In this case we had so many people â€” members and others â€” complain to us that we started looking at it.”
The Florida pet store sells dogs also on their popular website and they also list numerous celebrities as satisfied customers. People can browse through pictures of puppies and find a puppy they want to buy. Wizard of Claws’ mission statement is “to provide World Class unique dogs that set the standard of excellence.”
Jim Anderson, the owner of Wizard of Claws, tells ABC News he’s innocent and is being unfairly targeted. Anderson says that his pet store is one of the best kennels in the world, and that he is the victim of the Humane Society’s vendetta against pet stores.
“Their goal is to close all pet stores in the country. They don’t want one pet store open,” Anderson said. “I have a model facility.”
More on the class action lawsuit after the jump.
The civil lawsuit is part of a larger movement to toughen and enforce puppy “lemon laws”, and the Humane Society is also hoping the suit will bring attention to puppy mills.
There are currently seven named plaintiffs in the Humane Society’s lawsuit.
Ed Webb, another unhappy Wizard of Claws customer, says he bought a Maltese he named Vanna from Wizard of Claws in November 2006. Just days after bringing her home, the puppy began coughing and vomiting and, according to court documents, was diagnosed with kennel cough and Coccidia, a parasite that infects the intestines. Webb says further treatment found that the puppy had a congenital liver defect. Less than a month after buying Vanna, the Webbs were advised by their vet to euthanize the puppy.
A Miami lawyer that is representing the Humane Society pro bono is hoping as many as 100 pet owners will join the suit. He says that this is the only way to get Wizards of Claws to stop and change their ways.
(Thanks Debbie 4747)