Pet store operator agrees to pay restitution after fraud investigation
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Phoenix-based pet retailer has agreed to change its business practices and pay restitution after the Arizona Attorney General’s Office investigated the company for alleged violations of the Consumer Fraud Act.
Companion Pets, Inc. agreed to pay $120,000 to the state, which will be used to pay restitution to eligible customers.
The AGO announced Friday, Dec. 16, that it obtained an assurance of discontinuance and restitution from CPI as a result of the investigation into alleged unlawful practices and misrepresentations with CPI’s advertising and sale of dogs.
The Assurance of Discontinuance is not considered an admission of a violation.
The AGO began investigating in February 2020 after receiving information suggesting the company may source from commercial breeders providing substandard care and living conditions to animals.
CPI currently operates four Animal Kingdom and Puppies ‘N Love retail stores in Tucson, Tempe, Glendale and Gilbert and online at animalkingdomaz.com. The company sells approximately 6,000 dogs per year through its stores. It gets most of its dogs through out-of-state breeders and brokers.
To be considered for restitution, consumers who purchased a puppy from CPI must:
- have purchased a puppy from an Animal Kingdom or Puppies ‘N Love retail store, or from animalkingdomaz.com, between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2022;
- have made their purchase in Arizona or while living in Arizona at the time of the purchase;
- file a complaint with the AGO within 120 days after the court signs the order (deadline expected to occur in mid-April 2023) that includes a detailed description of any unfair act or practice, false promise, or misrepresentation made by CPI or its employees at or near the time of sale.
CPI agreed to a number of changes to its business practices that will benefit consumers, including:
- Clearly identifying the sources of the animals it places for sale.
- Accurately displaying the name and USDA-licensing status of the breeders and brokers from whom it has obtained an animal for sale.
- Not offering dogs for sale that come from breeders or brokers that have been cited for violations of the USDA’s Animal Welfare Act if CPI advertises that it does not obtain dogs from such breeders or brokers.
- Not releasing dogs to consumers that are known to have parasites without informing the consumer verbally and in writing and advising whether the dog requires further treatment.
If you believe you have been the victim of or experienced consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, contact the Attorney General’s Office in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763 or outside at (800) 352-8431.
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