WA sues Puppyland for alleged health issues, predatory loan practices

Apr 12, 2023, 10:37 AM | Updated: 11:17 am


A puppy store in Puyallup is facing a lawsuit from State Attorney General Bob Ferguson for misleading customers about the health of the dogs and engaging in a predatory loan practice. (Photo by John Smith/VIEWpress)

(Photo by John Smith/VIEWpress)

A puppy store in Puyallup is facing a lawsuit from State Attorney General Bob Ferguson for misleading customers about the health of the dogs and engaging in a predatory loan practice.

Ferguson’s office says more than 7,000 people have bought puppies from the stores in Washington — with some dogs reportedly becoming violently ill soon after the sale.

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Puppyland guarantees the health of all their puppies, touting “15-day viral guarantees,” “2-year guarantees,” and “10-year guarantees” on the health of the puppies, but when customers who have puppies with health issues try and get their money back, they are stopped by preconditions. Many of the “guarantees” include requirements for veterinary visits within three days of purchase, only cover certain ailments, and some customers have even just stopped receiving a response from Puppyland.

All of this comes along with the claim that the puppies come from the best breeders hand selected by the company but do not disclose breeding information. In reality, many of the puppies allegedly come from one of the largest puppy brokers in the country.

“In reality, many if not all of Defendants’ puppies sold in Washington come from an Iowa-based puppy broker named J.A.K.’s Puppies, Inc., one of the largest puppy brokers in the country, which sources dogs from a multitude of breeders. These weeks-old puppies are transported over a thousand miles in vans to arrive at Defendants’ stores in the middle of the night,” the suit said.

The lawsuit in King County Superior Court also claims buyers were taken advantage of and rushed into loans with interest rates approaching 200%. Many of the dogs that Puppyland sells are “purebred and designer mixed-breed puppies,” for which the lawsuit alleged that they sell for between $3,000 and $10,000 per dog.

The Attorney General’s office alleges that Puppyland tricked customers into bonding with the puppies before telling them the price in order to get people to sign up for payment plans with “predatory, same-day, high-interest loans.”

“When asked the price of a specific puppy, Puppyland employees are instructed to deflect the question and urge the consumer to play with the puppy,” the lawsuit alleges. “Only after a puppy play session, followed by a discussion outlining the availability of quick approval payment plans, is the exorbitant price finally revealed. Defendants’ employees then rush consumers through the purchase process, glossing over loan terms”

The attorney general wants the company to pay restitution to impacted customers, citing alleged “deceptive and unfair advertising and sales practices.”

A Puppyland spokesperson released the following statement to KIRO 7:

“…the premise of the lawsuit is inconsistent with our values and business practices. The health and welfare of our puppies has been and remains our first priority, and we give more people the ability to buy their next ‘forever’ pet.”

“The purchase of a family pet is a significant and meaningful transaction,” Ferguson said. “Businesses that sell puppies and other pets have an obligation to consumers not to deceive them or take advantage of them. We will continue working to ensure Washington families seeking to purchase a household pet are treated fairly.”

KIRO 7 contributed to this report

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WA sues Puppyland for alleged health issues, predatory loan practices