PHOENIX – Attorney General Mark Brnovich today announced that his office (AGO) has obtained an assurance of discontinuance and restitution from Companion Pets, Inc. (CPI), which sells puppies online and in retail locations in Arizona.
“The addition of a dog is an important, emotional decision for any family,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “It is imperative that consumers be given truthful information about the source and the health of animals that will become family members."
This is the result of the AGO’s consumer fraud investigation into alleged unlawful practices and misrepresentations with CPI’s advertising and sale of dogs. It requires CPI to pay the State $120,000 to be used for restitution to consumers who have been affected by those alleged practices.
CPI currently operates four Animal Kingdom and Puppies ‘N Love retail stores in Tempe, Glendale, Gilbert, and Tucson 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.
In February 2020, the AGO started investigating after receiving information suggesting the company may source from commercial breeders providing substandard care and living conditions to animals.
Restitution will be available to qualifying consumers who purchased a puppy from CPI. To be considered for restitution, consumers must: (1) have purchased a puppy from an Animal Kingdom or Puppies ‘N Love retail store, or from animalkingdomaz.com, between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2022; (2) either have made their purchase in Arizona or have been living in Arizona at the time of the purchase; and (3) 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 now must make 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; and
- 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.
Civil Litigation Division Chief Counsel Joseph Sciarrotta assisted in the management of this matter. Senior Litigation Counsel Laura Dilweg and Assistant Attorney General Nathan Whelihan handled this investigation.
Copy of assurance of discontinuance pending court approval.
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 Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.