Attorney General's animal team shuts down illegal puppy flippers

Dec 16, 2013

The state attorney general’s recently created animal protection initiative has led to the shutdown of two illegal puppy sale operations.

The state’s top prosecutor says two dog sellers bought puppies for cheap or got them for free and then “flipped” the dogs for a profit.

One seller from central New York, Carissa Seaman of Cleveland, N.Y., agreed to stop selling dogs. The attorney general says he got a court order to stop a separate puppy-flipping operation, run by Stephanie Arcara, near Buffalo. Neither woman had a license to sell dogs.

The women would buy dogs online through  sites like Craigslist and quickly sell them at a mark up through similar channels, the attorney general said.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the people behind the illegal operations weren’t properly taking care of the dogs in the short time they had them.

"Dogs with patches of fur missing, lots of fleas, puppies that were too young to be weaned from their mothers," Schneiderman said at an event at the Central New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "[Seaman] was not providing the proper medical care because that would of cut into the profits of this operation."

The attorney general’s office set up an animal cruelty branch in May. Schneiderman says both women were breaking several laws. He says people are emotionally invested with pets, unlike buying a defective appliance.

"There’s something egregious about people who will try to defraud people with the sale of an animal because it results in animal cruelty and it also results in a lot of heartbreak," he said.

Schneiderman encouraged people to only buy or adopt pets through legitimate sellers with licenses. Meeting someone in a shopping center parking lot to buy a puppy should be a red flag, he said.