Illinois Dog Owners Sue Pet Store Chain

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The class-action suit, which names no puppy mill, or puppy farm, alleges that the Illinois pet company is in violation of "consumer fraud and deceptive business practices act, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, injunctive relief and breach of the implied warranty of merchantability ...," because of its "false and misleading representations of material fact to induce consumers into purchasing sick puppy mill puppies."

In a statement Thursday, the dog owners' lawyer, the Clinton Law Firm, said, "We are very confident in the merits of the lawsuit and the detailed investigation that preceded its filing. Since the case was filed, we have been contacted by numerous people with concerns about puppies purchased from Happiness Is Pets. We anticipate adding additional plaintiffs to the lawsuit."

But the store's attorney said, "They really do stand behind their dogs.

"The owner is really one of the leading people in this business that has been involved in legislation regarding the protection of animals and has served on a d Senate Joint Resolution Task Force in Illinois, which has been involved in drafting legislation about superficial laws relating to the protection of animals," Fish said.

The suit seeks a full refund for the purchase price of the puppies, punitive damages, full reimbursement of all veterinary and other expenses incurred and more.

The conditions of the dogs purchased from Happiness were brought to the attention of many of the dog owners by advocate Companion Animal Protection Society, which began investigating after being alerted about an alleged distemper outbreak.

"I felt very deceived," customer Castillo said.

The six pet owners filed the class action lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County. A court date has yet to be released.

"We'll respond in court," Fish said. "This is a family-run business that has been around for 25 years. There is a reason they have been in business for 25 years."

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