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After Losing 60 Percent of Their Business, Avenel Puppy Store is Suing

Doreen Longo launched a lawsuit on behalf of Sasha, the dead puppy she bought from Fancy Pups. Now store owner Rocco Garruto is suing back.


The owner of the Avenel puppy store accused of selling sick animals said in a legal brief that the negative publicity has caused his store sales to plummet 60 percent.

Rocco Garruto, owner of , filed a countersuit against Doreen Longo, who  bought a German Shepherd puppy from Garruto in December that died of a deadly contagious canine disease 10 days after she bought the dog.

In the legal papers, Garruto accused Longo of "waging an all out war" against him that included posting on the Internet and costing him tons of business.

He also accused her of libel and slander, and of making defamatory statements, such as - all of which he claimed has caused customers who had put deposits on dogs to cancel their contracts and ask for their money back.

Longo had no apologies.

"Everything I've said is true. I'm a victim of Rocco once again," she said.

After her puppy died of parvovirus and other parasites that sapped the dog's strength until it bled to death, Longo contacted several state and county agencies to redress her grievances.

Her claim is one of many being handled by the Middlesex County Department of Consumer Affairs, which has been taking Garruto to municipal court in Woodbridge. He's due back again in local court on April 25.

Longo also hit Garruto with a civil lawsuit, to be heard in Middlesex County Superior Court, Special Civil Part on April 30.

Garruto's response to Longo's suit, with what Longo called a 'SLAPP' lawsuit, is intended to add to legal fees in an effort to run up the plaintiff's lawyer bills so they'll drop legal action.

"I'm not giving up," she said.

She's suing Garruto for the cost of the puppy, veterinarian bills, and her attorney fees. The sum she's seeking is approximately $15,000, or treble her costs.

"Rocco is a professional defendant. He has tons of judgments against him that all deal with sick animals. He commits fraud left and right," Longo said.

"They'll have to put a swinging door on the courthouse just for how many times he's been in and out of court because of the sick animals he sells."

Garruto, who owns the puppy store with his wife, could not be reached for comment.

"If my postings have helped one family avoid the pain that I've gone through, my dog's death hasn't been in vain," Longo said. "I don't want to see any family go through what I and my family have gone through."

Tom Maras April 04, 2012 at 02:19 PM
The new lawyer handles foreclosures, bankruptcys, etc., but does he handle INS issues?
Rachel Mahoney January 04, 2013 at 03:58 PM
I purchased a toy poodle 3 weeks ago and she is happy and healthy, the store was the cleanest i have ever been in and the staff was wonderful!!! Thanks Fancy Pups
WhyohWhy January 04, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Which Rachel, is the way the store is SUPPOSE to be ! Obviously he has cleaned up the place and hired better people. I hope it stays like that. Good luck with your dog. Why after all the bad press this place has gotten you still went in there to buy a puppy is beyond me.
Tamara Winfrey January 04, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Let me get this straight... you read a story about a puppy who died COUGHING UP BLOOD and you still went to this guy to buy one? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Obama's America.
WhyohWhy January 04, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Well Tamara I wouldn't claim she is Obama's America that I think woold be insulting them. LOL

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