Customers accuse Smith Haven Mall store of selling sick dogs

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NESCONSET -

The state has launched an investigation into a popular puppy shop at the Smith Haven Mall in response to complaints that the store may be selling sick dogs.

"They lie to all their customers," says Mike Dinome. "The dogs are not healthy -- a lot of them are sick."

He says his dogs, 5-month-old mini-goldendoodle Rocky and 2-year-old bulldog Winston, are both chronically sick and were purchased from the American Dog Club at the mall.

"I feel like we were taken," adds dog owner Eric Simpson. "It was a lot of money, and then to find out that...he was just having problems after problems."

Those problems, the owners say, include seizure disorders, kennel cough and infections, illnesses that cost the two more than $10,000 in veterinarian bills so far.

Suffolk County Legisator Tom Cilmi says it's difficult to control or regulate local puppy sales because it's currently done by the federal government.

"The USDA recently changed their protocols as far as their public information, and we cannot identify at this point where the specific violations are," he says.

Store manager AnnMarie, who would not provide her last name, says she follows all federal regulations and sells only healthy puppies.

Suffolk has a puppy "Lemon Law" that allows exchanges during the first 14 days after purchase and covers veterinarian bills only up to the retail price of the animal.

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