A South Sound puppy store has been hit with a massive lawsuit from the Attorney General’s office.
Hitting consumers with predatory loans with sky-high interest rates and selling puppies that often develop health issues are just some of the allegations in the lawsuit against Puppyland, a Puyallup-based pet store.
“It’s happening to too many Washingtonians, and that’s not okay. And so we need to take this action,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.
The complaint claims Puppyland is obtaining its dogs from an out-of-state broker accused of getting theirs from puppy mills.
Ferguson also accuses the company of misrepresenting the health of its puppies.
“You know, we’ve had puppies who have died shortly after being brought home, and that is tragic for the individuals. It’s contrary to the guarantee this company makes. And moreover, the company isn’t backing up their guarantee,” said Ferguson.
Puppyland is big business. It has stores in Idaho, Texas and Georgia.
Here in Washington, the lawsuit says over the past five years, the company sold more than 7,000 puppies charging between three and ten thousand dollars per dog.
The AG also alleges the company offers predatory loans called “Puppy Payments” to consumers with interest rates reaching nearly 200%
In KIRO 7′s investigation into Puppyland last year, we told you about Millie Hill, who spent $5500 for a puppy plus add-ons.
To pay for it, she got two loans: one with 128% interest and the other at 71%.
It brought the total cost for the dog with interest to more than $10,000.
“What do I think of Puppyland? They’re the worst of the worst,” said Hill. “I paid less for my car.”
KIRO 7′s Jesse Jones asked Kayla Kerr, one of Puppyland’s owners, about Millie’s case.
“So Puppy Land is not the one financing these for the customers. These are all third parties. We have no determination or say in what their interest rate is. This is all determined by the financing company,” said Kerr.
“Absolutely. But it’s your business, correct?” asked Jones.
“Yes,” replied Kerr.
“They walk outside with the dog, and now they’re hit with interest. That could buy them two dogs,” said Jones.
“Yeah, so I’m not in the position to make a financial decision for them. I don’t know what their financials look like at home,” said Kerr.
Eventually, Millie says she had to get a third loan to pay off the other two.
“They need to change their practices. And we think this lawsuit will help change their practices. So it’s a better experience for Washingtonians,” explained Ferguson.
In a statement, a Puppyland spokesperson tells 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.”
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