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Protest of Lynbrook Pet Shop Leads to Arrest

LION demonstrates against store's alleged use of puppy mills.

"Dont Shop. Adopt!" 

This was one of the messages that protesters demonstrating outside the Lynbrook Shake-A-Paw on Dec. 22 were hoping to send to potential customers of the local pet shop.

Hoisting signs that read, "How sick is that puppy in the window?" and "For Every Buy, a Shelter Pup Dies," members of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION) marched outside the Atlantic Avenue store for roughly two hours during the chilly Saturday before Christmas.

"A lot of people are bringing home dogs and cats as presents and we welcome that as long as they are going to a good family, but we definitely want them coming from a shelter," stated Julie Cappiello, vice president of LION, which was formed in August and is currently seeking non-profit status.

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Cappiello, 21, shared personal stories of family and friends who purchased dogs from Shake A Paw, and shortly after, discovered their new pets were sick with parasites, heart problems and other conditions. She also cited various complaints that have been lodged against the store and some of its breeders, who have been accused of running "puppy mills."

"Puppy mills are large-scale breeding factories where horrendous conditions are standard, diseases are rampant, and mothers are often forced to live out their lives in wire cages caked with excrement," LION's President and Malverne resident John Di Leonardo told Patch. "Much like criminals launder their money through seemingly legitimate businesses, puppy mills launder their animals through pet stores, such as Shake A Paw, hiding the cruelties of their industry behind the eyes of cuddly puppies."

DiLeonardo explained, "We are here today because the public deserves to know where Shake A Paws' animals are coming from, about the various health conditions their animals often suffer from, and the poor animals bred to them deserve a voice."

Shake A Paw refused to comment on the protest or the allegations voiced by LION when contacted by Patch.

Lynbrook Police responded to the scene of the protest twice. They arrested one of the protesters, and charged him with disorderly conduct. According to Di Leonardo, cops told the protester he was impeding traffic and had to leave, but as he put his hands in the air and went to walk away, an officer threw him to the ground and handcuffed him. 

The protesters were allowed to continue demonstrating so long as they kept moving and did not interfere with traffic. But later in the afternoon, Lynbrook Police had to respond to the scene again when two civilians had an encounter with the protesters.

The unidentified men approached the group and grabbed signs and pamphlets out of the demonstraters' hands, according to Cappiello.

 "They were very aggressive ... they threatened many of us," she said, but credited Officer King with settling the "rowdy" crowd.

Cappiello said the protest was able to persuade at least one family that day to not purchase a puppy from the store by directing them instead to local rescue groups and shelters. 

"For those who want purebreds, one might be surprised to find out that 1 in 4 shelter dogs are purebred and breed rescues abound," DiLeonardo stated. He recommends people looking for a pet to visit TheShelterPetProject.org, which is endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States.

He added, "If one wants to add a member to their family, whether it be during the holiday season or otherwise, town shelters and nonprofit rescue groups provide adoptions at a fraction of the cost of pet stores with your money going toward a good cause rather than a cruel enterprise."

Have you purchased a cat or dog from Shake A Paw in Lynbrook? Tell us about your experience.

Brian January 04, 2013 at 07:20 AM
Radical Extremists? Been watching a little too much Faux News?
JDL January 04, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Reading through these comments make me wonder about people's views.Just where are they coming from? I personally know many of these protesters. They believe in their cause. Believe in improving the welfare of animals. Good for them! They are attempting to educate others and that is a very worthy cause. People should listen and maybe get involved as well. JDL, Malverne
Mark reyes January 04, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Every dog I have ever gotten has been from the North Shore animal League or the Bide-A-wee in Wantagh. Never had any type of issue with any of the dogs. Would never get a Dog from a store.
Tara Conry (Editor) January 04, 2013 at 02:32 PM
I wrote the article, and I am not a member of LION. I interviewed the protestors at the scene, and yes, they did provide some photos, which I used to supplement my own. No propaganda. No conspiracy here.
Viviene January 04, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Terri Ann. I happily share with you that my cat breeder dedicates an entire floor of her Victorian home to shelter cats. Don't be a hater. Get informed.
Terri-Ann January 04, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Brian, I am AGAINST puppy mills. The whole point of my comment is to tell the world that breeders and puppy mills shouldn't have a business when overpopulation of dogs and cats are leading to their deaths in shelters... We're on the same side here, Brian. Just because I see something different from what you do in the photos, does not mean that I'm against the points of the protesters. I am happy the protesters are there, speaking their minds. More people should be like them. I was AGAINST the cops holding the gentleman on the car and handcuffing another as they were just exercising their First Amendment rights. Did you not see my first comment about how many shelter pups die daily?
Terri-Ann January 04, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Even if your breeder does donate a floor to shelter cats, which is great, she should not be breeding animals when 34 dogs and cats were just killed last night just in one shelter (NYACC) due to overpopulation of their species. I am very much informed on the subject. I stand by what I said: If a breeder really loved the animals she or he was working with, she or he would stop breeding while shelter animals die in large numbers in the United States every single year, which, by the way, is 3-4 million animals a year.
Adrienne Rothenberg January 04, 2013 at 05:21 PM
For everyone who thinks that pet store puppies are not from mills, you need to talk to the owner of the store and ask for things such as: to personally meet the puppy's parents and the facility in which the dogs live and which the puppies are born; to see the medical records of the parents and the puppies; to ask the location of the kennel in which the puppy was born; and to see how the puppies are transported. If the store is legitimate, the owner should have no problem showing you these things. As a consumer you have the right to know these things. If the owner of the store refuses to provide you with this information, then logically you must question where the puppy came from. So, I propose that everyone who thinks that Shake A Paw is a legitimate store, I propose that you approach the owners and ask these questions, and report back letting everyone know what you have found. I would do it myself but I do not live in the area. I do know that the local pet store here that sells puppies will not give this information out, even if you go in well-dressed and well-mannered and ask politely.
Adrienne Rothenberg January 04, 2013 at 05:24 PM
I apologize for the grammatical errors in my previous comment. I have a very bad headache at the moment.
Thomas Nathan January 04, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Does anyone currently have any piece of valid evidence that shows that Shake a Paw in Lynbrook utilizes these puppy mills. Not heresay, not I didnt get an answer but valid evidence?
Viviene January 04, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Terri-Ann, the Siberian Forest Cat is the only breed of cat that is hypo-allergenic, which is why I am a blessed owner of a beautiful baby of this breed. After suffering for 30 years with severe cat allergies it was time to put my health first. I make NO apologies whatsoever for owning a cat that is a pure breed. I continue to give of my time and my finances generously to provide for shelter cats and have lived my entire life providing homes for cats that found their way onto my property and into my heart. I wonder how many of the breeder 'whistler blowers' of the world have actually taken in the animals they defend. I know I have done my part and will continue to do so, even if it is by giving generously of my fiances and continuing to place unwanted cats in loving homes. Terri-Ann, you need to set anger aside and direct it toward those who do not spay/neuter and allow the homeless animal population to proliferate and to the disgraceful individuals who run the mills this article is about.
Melissa Pinto January 05, 2013 at 02:39 AM
I actually asked them once when I was in there killing time just for the heck of it and because I felt like being nosy , and they had told me all their dogs come from breeders .If they are lying to me or not I guess I will never know.
CatsandDogs January 06, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Wow, don't these power hungry police know that people have the right to block sidwalks, traffic and people from entering business with silly chants and vulger pictures? Soo these "peaceful" protesters actually weren't soo peaceful. Funny to see their president being searched over the police car. I would have thought by now, he knew what was legal and what was not. Guess some people just don't know their rights ;) I am against abuse of anything living, but I just think these kids would help the world out more by focusing on humans first. With their passion and willingness, they could probably open a soup kitchen, work outreach, or partner with many of the great local charities to help raise money or donate time.
Alysha January 06, 2013 at 01:53 AM
Puppy mills are hideous! Money hungry people who run puppy mills are ONLY in it for the money! They DO NOT care about the well being of the adult animals or their puppies! These animals are severely NEGLECTED and live in DEPLORABLE conditions! People need to educate themselves before BUYING an animal! There are literally millions of cats and dogs in shelters, who are HEALTHY, waiting to be adopted to a loving home! Most animals from PET STORES/PUPPY MILLS are sick and unhealthy!!! I work in an animal hospital on Long Island and I see it all the time. Puppy mills and the horrible pet stores that purchase them need to be STOPPED NOW!
Gary C. Di Leonardo January 06, 2013 at 05:23 AM
I am proud that LION has taken a stand against the abuse of animals. Respect for all living creatures is the path to a better world for all of us. GCD
debbie January 06, 2013 at 02:44 PM
People need to watch actual footage of how animals are mistreated in puppy mills. I have a job where these people--if caught--are prosecuted. I have SEEN the pictures. Something I will never forget.
steve o January 07, 2013 at 03:37 AM
if you are looking for a top of the line pure bred dog - most people would deal directly with the breeder - i have a feeling that the less than perfect dogs end up in pet shops . I own an english mastiff that we rescued from the pet shop in roosevelt field that is no longer in business . The dog has hip problems - the breeder wanted him put down - my son worked there and took the dog home - it was being kept in the back - not being cared for in a cage too small for it .He's doing great but was definitely the runt of the litter . We also have a dog we adopted from north shore (he was a hurricane survivor from louisiana ) We also owned a dog for 14 years that we rescued from the wantagh animal shelter . (greatest dog ever ) .I would never buy a dog from a pet shop . I would never buy a dog from a pet shop or breeder with so many in shelters
Kristie M January 07, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Thomas - You have to go to the pet storea and get the names of the breeders they use. Then you can look them up on the USDA APHIS Web site for violations. http://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASearch/faces/CustomerSearch.jspx I just started a blog on Huntington Patch about puppy mills, pet stores and online sales, which are even worse. There are of myriad of issues, from the USDA not being able to do their job properly (120 inspectors for over 6,500 facilities in the country, not all puppy mills), to "judgement calls" by inspectors, to NYS not being able to inspect all records.
Kristie M January 07, 2013 at 01:49 PM
A new puppy mill education blog on Huntington Patch supports what LION and other protestors around the Island and the country are doing are doing: http://huntington.patch.com/blog_posts/who-doesnt-love-a-puppy Upcoming entries will explain the roles and shortcomings of the USDA and NYS, online sales (a gaping loophole), why people protest and what we can do, including letting your elected officials know you don't want deception or the products of animal cruelty sold in your neighborhood.
Thomas Nathan January 07, 2013 at 01:52 PM
So IO guess the answer is that no-one has any valid proof that the Shake-a-Paw in Lynbrook is using puppy mills
Kristie M January 07, 2013 at 03:45 PM
LION would probably not out there unless they did this or sent NYS what are called FOIL requests for the breeder/puppy broker info when they are shipped across state lines.
Ivan Ivanovich January 07, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Lynbrook ain't NYC and unfortunately those fascist cops don't understand the differences, the police are running scared, that's why city cops transfer to the suburbs, they're just providing us with the illusion of safety
Thomas Nathan January 07, 2013 at 04:41 PM
@Kristie PROBABLY - that is your best answer. Either the Shake-a-Paw in Lynbrook uses puppy mills or they dont. Lets see LIONs evidence to support their claims.
Emily January 07, 2013 at 10:49 PM
I bought my dog from Shake a Paw and she's fine and a complete joy. She did have a parasite that she contracted from our yard/eating something she shouldn't have about three weeks after bringing her home. The vet said it was NORMAL.
Joe January 08, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Giardia, which is most likely the parasite contracted, can take three weeks to start showing symptoms and is from eating the cyst of the parasite, which is found in the feces of already infected pups. Now, as I assume there are no other animals in your household that have been infected and the dog hasn't eaten feces on walks, the only logical explanation would be that your dog contracted it from the pet store, where there are numerous complaints of dogs coming home with Giardia, or puppy mills, where feces are piled more than six inches high under the cages that are also caked in it. If you do have other animals in your household, it would be a wise decision to have them checked for parasites as well. Often, dogs from mills have a behavioral problem called "pica," in which the animal eats non-food items, such as socks, rocks, and feces. Since Giardia is contracted from eating feces, I wouldn't be surprised if she or he has been eating socks, rocks, stuffing, wood, or other non-food items. Giardia also can cause chronic diarrhea in dogs, so does your dog have that as well? If so, I would change vets and do an endoscopy on the dog, which can tell you the exact cause of the chronic diarrhea.
Melissa January 08, 2013 at 11:45 PM
I am sorry, but arresting the protester is a bit excessive...and you are very foolish and gullible if you think for one second that the dogs in the store all come from a great place, and were bred in loving homes.
barbara d January 09, 2013 at 05:15 PM
A puppy mill is a commercial dog breeding facility that is operated with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare. Often breeding dogs are kept in substandard conditions. Google puppy mill. Are you aware puppy mills/kitten factories supply retail pet stores with puppies and kittens to sell to the unknowing public while shelter dogs are euthanized by the thousands for no other reason except lack of space. Educate yourself. Learn the facts about puppy mills and the pet store connection. Google Puppy Mills.
Thomas Nathan January 09, 2013 at 05:41 PM
While its interesting you are posting your allegations. Does anyone have any valid proof that Shake-a-Paw in Lynbrook uses puppy mills?
Tara Conry (Editor) January 09, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Thomas: I am looking into this. I sat down with LION and they handed me over the information they do have. We will have a follow-up report coming soon.
Thomas Nathan January 09, 2013 at 06:47 PM
@ Tara Thanks for the follow-up. Its one thing for LION to make accusations but I think its helpful to see if they have actual proof or not.

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