EDISON - Some New Jersey pet store owners are questioning if it is possible to stay in business after becoming targets of animal rights activists.

The Department of Consumer Affairs recently fined 17 New Jersey pets stores for allegedly violating the state's Pet Purchase Protection Act laws.

Bark Avenue Puppies, located in Red Bank, was given a $10,000 administrative fine.

"I really believe it's a way for them to drive revenue that's kind of easy," says owner Gary Hager. "They make up rules. They keep it cloudy on how they disclose it and they don't give a business owner a chance to respond without an immediate fine."

Among the 17 fined stores were Fashionable Pets in Paramus, the Puppy Barn in Mount Olive and the Puppy Hut in Robbinsville.

"If pet shops do not agree to accept the negotiated penalties and fully comply...we stand ready to bring them to court and seek the maximum penalties," says Steve Lee, acting director of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Hager says he has come to learn that with accolades from happy customers also comes harassment on social media from activists. He says he and his business have also been harassed by activists in person.