A group of consumers filed a lawsuit in the Dorchester County Court of Common Pleas against the owners of the local pet store Petland Summerville, along with its franchisor, the international pet store chain Petland Inc. The complaint alleges that the defendants violated South Carolina consumer protection laws by knowingly and fraudulently selling sick puppies to unsuspecting consumers, causing the consumers to suffer tremendous emotional and financial harm. The James Island law firm Corvey Law Firm is representing the plaintiffs, with assistance from attorneys in the Animal Protection Law department at the Humane Society of the United States.

According to the complaint, each of the seven families who are plaintiffs in the case purchased puppies at premium prices from the Petland store in Summerville, relying on the store’s false assurances that it sells healthy puppies only from high quality, humane breeders. In reality, the complaint alleges, Petland routinely sources its puppies from inhumane, unsanitary puppy mills where animal care and welfare take a back seat to profit. Sadly, after purchasing their puppies at steep prices, the plaintiffs discovered their new pets were sick, many diagnosed with serious health conditions such as pneumonia, bordetella (kennel cough), canine influenza, parvovirus, and distemper. The plaintiffs have accrued thousands in veterinary expenses attempting to restore the health of their new pets, and some of the puppies did not survive.

For example, Plaintiffs Megan and Tim Madden fell in love with a soft-coated Wheaton Terrier puppy at the Petland Summerville store. Despite concerns that he seemed lethargic, they purchased Chewie because of Petland staff’s assurances that his behavior was normal and that they sell only healthy pets from high-quality breeders. After bringing Chewie home, his condition worsened with severe bouts of diarrhea, coughing, and seizures. Chewie’s diagnoses included bordetella, mycoplasma, seizure disorders, and distemper, and he was hospitalized for nearly a week at death’s door. Following discharge, Chewie became gravely ill again, requiring another multi-day hospitalization. Chewie survived, but not before the Maddens accrued thousands of dollars in vet bills and suffered severe emotional anguish.

The Curry family had a similarly grueling experience. According to the complaint, having promised their twelve-year-old child a companion, they purchased their puppy Kody from Petland Summerville in reliance on Petland’s promises that they sell healthy puppies from reputable breeders, and assurances that Kody’s apparent lethargy was of no concern. Shortly after bringing him home, however, Kody exhibited troubling symptoms. Kody was eventually hospitalized and diagnosed with pneumonia, adenovirus, distemper, parainfluenza, mycoplasma, and Bordetella. Sadly, Kody ultimately succumbed to his illnesses and passed away less than two months after the Curry’s bought him, leaving them heartbroken while owing thousands of dollars in veterinary bills.

“For many people, pets are a part of their family, and these stories of families connecting with their puppies only to suffer the expense and heartbreak of treating a sick pet or having to tragically say goodbye too soon is something no one should have to endure,” said lead attorney Ted Corvey. “It is important that these families are made whole, and more important that we stop these shameful business practices that value profits over animal welfare and customer’s financial and emotional well-being. These practices are repugnant and have no place in our community.”

“These families’ claims are consistent with the sad stories HSUS routinely hears from frustrated consumers across the country who were duped into purchasing sick puppies from Petland stores,” said Kimberly Ockene, managing attorney for companion animals litigation in HSUS’s Animal Protection Law department. “We hope this lawsuit achieves some justice for the consumers and animals abused by this shameful industry.”

The seven families who are plaintiffs in this lawsuit do not represent isolated incidents, and the attorneys at Corvey Law Firm believe there are likely many more. The lawsuit alleges a system that neglects dogs at every turn, from inhumane conditions at the breeding facilities to transport and distribution practices that elevate the risk of harm and disease for the young puppies, to in-store veterinary neglect and mistreatment that ignore the needs of puppies and consumers while focusing on Petland’s bottom line. This system, coupled with false assurances that their puppies are healthy and sourced from reputable breeders, results in an unfair trade practice where consumers pay the price both emotionally and financially.

If anyone purchased or knows someone who purchased a sick animal from the Summerville Petland location, they are asked to contact the law firm of Corvey Law Firm, at 843-625-8600, or go to www.corveylawfirm.com for more information.

You can download the complaint here.

Do not give a statement to the police

There will be temptation on your part to try and talk your way out of an arrest. It is important to understand that the police want you to discuss the case. They want to get you talking and they will document and/or record everything you say. It is their job to gather as much information as possible and to present that information to the Solicitor for prosecution. They are talking to you for a reason and they may have already decided that you have committed a crime. Do not discuss the case and do not admit to the crime. Anything you say or write may be used as evidence against you. You have a right to remain silent and that means you are not required to answer any of the officer’s questions. As soon as possible after your arrest, tell the officer that you would like to contact your attorney.

Do not give consent to search

When police are investigating a crime, they will often ask for permission to search your person, vehicle, or home. In order to conduct a lawful search, police need probable cause, a search warrant, or your consent. It is a common myth that refusing to consent to a search will make you look guilty. This is far from the truth and if the officer is asking for permission it generally means he does not have a search warrant or probable cause. Stay calm and politely tell them that you do not consent to a search. Consenting to a search can make it difficult for your attorney to later challenging that search in court.

Provide your correct name

Under South Carolina law it is a misdemeanor to knowingly provide false identification to a police officer. The violation can result in a fine, jail time or both and it will not look good at trial. Remember, If the police ask you something, you do not have to answer. However, if you do answer, make sure you tell the truth.

SECTION 16-17-725. Making false complaint to law enforcement officer; giving false information to rescue squad or fire department; misrepresenting identity to law enforcement officer during traffic stop or to avoid arrest or criminal charge.

(A) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly make a false complaint to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of a crime by another, or for a person to knowingly give false information to a rescue squad or fire department concerning the alleged occurrence of a health emergency or fire.

(B) It is unlawful for a person to misrepresent his identification to a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop or for the purpose of avoiding arrest or criminal charges.

(C) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.

Stay calm and do not resist the officer

Even if you are innocent, it is never a good idea to resist an officer’s attempt to arrest you and it’s never a good idea to run from the police. Resisting arrest is defined as intentionally and knowingly attempting to avoid arrest by a person who is known to be a law enforcement officer. Resisting arrest is generally a misdemeanor but if the officer is injured, you could be facing a felony with significant fines and jail time.  Be polite and use phrases like “Yes, ma’am” and “Yes sir”.

SECTION 16-9-320. Opposing or resisting law enforcement officer serving process; assaulting officer engaged in serving process.

(A) It is unlawful for a person knowingly and wilfully to oppose or resist a law enforcement officer in serving, executing, or attempting to serve or execute a legal writ or process or to resist an arrest being made by one whom the person knows or reasonably should know is a law enforcement officer, whether under process or not. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(B) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly and wilfully assault, beat, or wound a law enforcement officer engaged in serving, executing, or attempting to serve or execute a legal writ or process or to assault, beat, or wound an officer when the person is resisting an arrest being made by one whom the person knows or reasonably should know is a law enforcement officer, whether under process or not. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Contact an attorney as soon as possible

With almost 30 years of combined prosecutorial experience, the partners of Corvey law firm are dedicated to ensuring your darkest moment does not define you. Do not wait until your situation becomes more difficult to defend, call us today. From the most serious felonies to charges like DUI and other misdemeanors that can wreck your livelihood, Corvey law firm has the skill and real courtroom experience you require. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Corvey Law Firm is located in Charleston, SC. We serve areas in South Carolina (SC), Berkeley County, Dorchester County, Charleston County, North Charleston, Goose Creek, Summerville, Mount Pleasant, Folly Beach, Moncks Corner, Hanahan, Walterboro, St. George, Colleton County, Orangeburg County, Santee, Holly Hill, Eutawville, and surrounding areas. We provide representation for Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, and Animal Law cases.
815 Savannah Highway, Suite 201
Charleston, SC 29407
Tel: (843) 625-8600
Fax: (843) 625-8601
Email: info@corveylawfirm.com

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