Just Pups owner faces fines over licensing issue in Emerson

A pet shop owner facing hundreds of animal cruelty charges say that he is keeping his Emerson store open even though the town's mayor claims that he's operating without a license.

Just Pups owner Vincent LoSacco says that his attorney advised him to stay open because he says that Emerson officials are wrong about his license.

"We've received two summonses for every day that we've been open from July 1 on," LoSacco says. "From our initial review, we 100 percent feel we are right and the summonses will never end up in a fine because they are unjustified."

Emerson Mayor Louis Lamatina told News 12 New Jersey that LoSacco was told in May that he had to apply for his new license by June 14. The mayor says that LoSacco didn't apply until June 29 and expected an immediate approval by the borough council.

The council won't have a chance to vote on the new license until July 12. Mayor Lamatina says that legally, Just Pups is operating without a license.

"I had my new application in early in the morning on [June] 29, so the borough had a full 48 hours to review it, process it and issue my license," LoSacco says.

Mayor Lamatina reiterated that the application wasn't submitted in time. According to the mayor, LoSacco could face more fines if he is convicted of operating without a license, even if the license issue is worked out after the July 12 council meeting.

LoSacco is facing over 200 animal cruelty charges in East Brunswick and 67 charges in Paramus in connection to alleged mistreatment of the dogs that he sold at the Just Pups shops in those towns.

A group of people have been gathering outside the Emerson shop for the last few days to protest against pet shop health concerns, like selling puppy mill puppies.

LoSacco says that those type of concerns are not an issue with his shops.

He says in a statement, "Every day these protestors assemble in front of a pet store in a town where the sale of puppy mill dogs is banned and not in front of a pet store where no such law is in place, is proof these protestors do not care at all about the suffering and abuse of dogs in puppy mills, but rather are only seeking personal attention."

Mayor Lamatina says that the public interest issue concerning what has happened at the other Just Pups stores could create more issues in the future.

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