By Taylor Alessi and Brogan Harte
A petition dating back to a year ago has resurfaced this month with over 6,400 signatures in favor of shutting down The American Dog Club in the Smith Haven Mall.
a�?The puppies were always sick, from the day we got them,a�? Karianne Mackey, a former employee of The American Dog Club, said. a�?They are from puppy mills so it’s expected they will be sick and have health issues which they don’t warn customers about.a�? A�
There are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the U.S. and fewer than 3,000 of these are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to The Humane Society.
The petition, which has a goal of 7,500 signatures, is signed by customers and noncustomers alike who do not condone The American Dog Club or their treatment of puppies.
a�?Last year I just let it die down,a�? Samantha Woerner, the original author of the petition to shut down The American Dog Club, said. a�?Apparently someone found it again and it blew up.a�?A�
Consumers share similar experiences trying to restore the puppya��s health while paying thousands of dollars at the vet.
a�?We were getting ready to leave with the dog and he noticed the hip issue,a�? Kevin Oa��Connor, a customer, said.
a�?It was confirmed the dog had hip Dysplasia which costs $10,000 to fix and creates a highly painful life for the dog, they said they would just sell it to someone else.a�? Oa��Connor said.
Build-A-Bear is directly next door to The American Dog Club and is another frequent stop for young children.
a�?The smell is the worst part,a�? Gabriella Lavallee, a Build-A-Bear employee, said. a�?It not only makes the front of the store smell but the back stock room as well.a�?
Former employee, Faith Fling, worked for The American Dog Club for a short time before realizing things were not right.
a�?I worked at the store for only a few weeks,a�? Fling said.a�?My last day working, ASPCA actually came in to investigate. After that, the store was cleaned from bottom to top. My boss texted me saying they couldn’t have any new people at the moment and let me go, and it was pretty sketchy.a�?
Mackey worked at The American Dog Club for four months until she finally quit in November 2013 when she was fed up with the treatment of the animals, employees and customers.
a�?Puppies were drugged on medications to keep customers from seeing that they’re sick, they are left there overnight alone so if a puppy had a health emergency they would usually die,a�? Mackey said. a�?They have staff who aren’t licensed treating these pups, there was an incident where they left a puppy in the nebulizer too long and the puppy died.a�? Mackey said.
The surest way to stop puppy mills is for consumers to stop buying puppies, according to The Humane Society. Long Islandera��s can adopt from their local animal shelters to ensure the dog is in good health and properly taken care of.
a�?Honestly the only way I see things changing is if the puppy store closes,a�? Lavalle said.
The American Dog Club declined to comment.