State: Several pet stores violate consumer protection laws

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Several pet shops in New Jersey were cited for failing to comply with laws designed to protect consumers from buying unhealthy pets, according to state consumer affairs officials.

Among the violations included a failure to label dogs and cats cages with each animal's breeding history, medical background and other required information.

These shops also didn't note the names and addresses of those who brokered the sale between breeder and pet store or the date and names of veterinarians who performed the animals' initial medical exams.

Many pet shops were also cited for failing to properly display reports of any federal inspections conducted on breeders and brokers in the past two years, officials said. Additional violations involved the stores failure to properly display the required "Know Your Rights" signs informing customers of their rights when purchasing an animal from a pet shop.

The violation notices direct the shops to comply with the laws and pay a reduced civil penalty. Shops that don't address the notices or contest the violations could face higher civil penalties.

"Providing consumers with information about the breeder and the animal's veterinary history allows consumers to make educated choices in purchasing a pet for their family," Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said Monday. "Pet shops that don't provide this vital information are breaking the law and denying consumers the ability to fully research this important decision."

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