Puppy-mill protest held outside LI mall

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MASSAPEQUA -

Protesters rallied Sunday outside the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa against the alleged sale of dogs from puppy mills at commercial stores.

The demonstrators say they are the voices for countless animals who can't speak for themselves. They held signs and chanted, "Adopt, don't shop."

Stacy Schoenbach, of Bellmore, says bought a rottweiler named Troy from the American Dog Club at the Sunrise Mall. She says his paperwork said he's in good health, but he's not, and she's not sure if he's going to survive.

"It's still an emotional roller coaster for us.  He became part of the family and it's going to be heartbreaking," she says.

Kathy Pagartanis says she got a puppy named Mia last year from the same company but at a different location. Her German shepherd puppy was said to be in good health, but Pagartanis says the puppy was diagnosed with kidney failure and was gone in only a week.

Mall security wouldn't permit News 12 inside to talk to the store owner directly.  But News 12 did obtain a statement that says, "We are prohibited from buying any puppies from puppy mills. We are constantly getting inspected. Our puppies come from licensed USDA breeders as per the law, or small independent private breeders. We do not support puppy mills at all. We cannot sell puppies from unlicensed breeders."

Protesters say they don't believe that.  

"They're buying from these deplorable puppy mills where they put profit about the welfare of animals," says protest organizer Keri Michel.

Organizers say they're encouraging anyone who had a problem with the puppy store or any other store to call the authorities and file complaints with Consumer Affairs, the Better Business Bureau and the attorney general.

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