Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Judge Denies Just Pups Closure

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Judge Denies Just Pups Closure

Article excerpt

A Superior Court judge on Friday denied a bid by the borough of Emerson to immediately shut down Just Pups, a highly scrutinized pet store, for operating without a license.

But Judge Lisa Perez Friscia also said that it is at the borough's discretion whether to issue a license to a business.

"What is so emergent here? Where has everyone been? That is so problematic for this court," Friscia said of Emerson's bid, filed at 4:15 p.m. Thursday and argued first thing Friday morning. "If you want emergent relief that's going to shut down [Just Pups], where have they been? What has been transpiring for the many months" since 67 puppies were found unattended inside a van behind Just Pups' location in Paramus in April.

"It's not that this hasn't been out there and a central focus of coverage and community," Friscia added.

Just Pups' owner, Vincent LoSacco of Emerson, has been under fire since the dogs were found in the van, crying amid a strong odor of urine and feces.

The Paramus store has since closed and animal rights activists have protested outside the Emerson location.

LoSacco's license to operate the Emerson store expired June 30. He applied to renew it but the license has not been issued by the borough clerk because "the politicians won't let her issue it," said Anthony Arturi, the attorney representing Just Pups.

Arturi filed a complaint on Wednesday against Emerson and Borough Clerk Jane Dietsche seeking to compel the borough to issue the new license.

"The clerk in the past seven years has routinely granted our license," Arturi said. "I believe [the borough] has to based on our submission of a [certificate of occupancy] and a satisfactory health inspection."

LoSacco has been receiving borough summonses since July 1 for operating a kennel without a license, but, Arturi said, that ordinance doesn't apply to Just Pups because the borough's definition of a kennel is a business that harbors or maintains dogs older than 6 months. Just Pups doesn't sell dogs older than 6 months, he said.

John Stone, the attorney representing Emerson, said that LoSacco has had violations in Paramus and has transferred dogs from there to Emerson.

"There may be diseased dogs from the other location that are coming into the Emerson location," Stone said. …

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