Dog seller charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty in Sayreville

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SAYREVILLE -

A pet-selling operation in Sayreville has been shut down and the owner is facing charges of animal cruelty.

Warren Smith, 32, faces 12 counts of animal cruelty charges after Sayreville police, animal control officers and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office raided his Pet Supplies Plus store on Main Street.

Authorities say that they rescued 12 French bulldog puppies between the ages of 12 weeks and 3 years old. The county prosecutor says that Smith did not have the license to keep the animals.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey says that Smith was “failing to provide necessary care as the owner charged with the care of the animals specifically, adequate food and/or water and/or veterinary care."

Across the street at Mel's Pet Parlor, owner Mel Bellotto says she feared Smith's business was a front from some other criminal activity.

“It looked like a front and seemed like a front. No one ever went there and the store wasn't open,” she says. “If he's not doing the right thing he should get busted."

On Facebook, Smith pitches himself as a seller of French bulldogs, offering individual dogs for as much as $3,500. In a post made on July 11, Smith says “I’ve got four females for sale, three pregnant. I’ll take $50K for the set.”

Investigators say that they were tipped off by someone who heard the puppies inside the building.

"Obviously if you're going to house pets anywhere you need to go there and there need to be people at least checking up on them and it didn't seem that was happening at all,” Bellotto says.

The dogs are now being cared for by the Humane Society in Tinton Falls.

Smith is being held at the Middlesex County Jail.

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