EMERSON - Animal rights activists were out in full force Wednesday to protest in front of a pet shop owned by a man facing hundreds of animal cruelty charges. The protest was staged as lawmakers consider proposed legislation to bar pet shops from selling dogs that they bought from so-called puppy mills.

Dozens of activists gathered outside the Just Pups store in Emerson. The shop is owned by Vincent LoSacco. Local health departments have shut down two other Just Pup locations in East Brunswick and Paramus due to allegations that LoSacco did not properly care for the animals.

LoSacco previously told News 12 New Jersey that the protesters are “uninformed.”

The controversy surrounding LoSacco has prompted some New Jersey lawmakers to propose new legislation surrounding pet shops and how pet shops can get their animals.

In addition to prohibiting pet shops from selling animals obtained from puppy mills, the shops would also have to provide proper history information and a health certificate for the animal.

Some activists who attended Wednesday’s protest say that they would like to see the state abolish the sale of animals in pet shops all together.

“Pet stores should sell pet supplies, not pets,” says activist Robike Noll. “I firmly believe that. If you are that breed specific…do your research and find the breeder.”

However some pet shop owners say that a full ban could be scary for consumers.

Jeff Morton owns the Shake-A-Paw pet shop. He says that his shop sells dogs and also offers adoptions. He says he has a lot of safety measures to care for the animals, such as recycling and disinfecting the air every 12 minutes.

“That just about eliminates any possibility of respiratory infections and airborne virus,” he says. 

Morton says that his shop also has a “heavy emphasis on cleanliness, and labeling where pets came from and how they got there.”

The proposed New Jersey law could also eliminate out of state dogs sales if breeders don’t meet the proper standards.

The bill was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly earlier this week.