A long-troubled pet store in Avenel was raided by the state and shut down Christmas Eve after authorities said the owner attempted to illegally sell dogs. The owner was then arrested three days later for trying to sell more dogs out of his auto body shop down the road, township officials allege.
It’s only the latest negative headline for Fancy Pups and its owner Rocco Garruto, Jr.: The pet store has been shut down before, and Garruto claims he’s been the subject of phone threats from animal activists after investigations he knowingly sold sick puppies.
Garruto, 63, was arrested Sunday, Dec. 27 by the Woodbridge Police in front of his garage, Crystal Auto Sales, on St. Georges Avenue. When he was arrested, he had one puppy and two dogs with him, police said. This was in violation of a Dec. 24 restraining order that prevented him from selling, transporting, and holding animals, township officials said.
That restraining order was served Christmas Eve as part of a raid at Fancy Pups by the state SPCA, Woodbridge Animal Control and township police. Ten dogs were removed from the shop: Two went to a Boxer rescue, and eight to the Woodbridge Animal Shelter, where they are currently. All of them needed to be quarantined and were treated for illness/parasites, including giardia, said Dennis Green, the Woodbridge Director of Health and Human Services.
However, Garruto was able to get away with three dogs, which he took with him to his nearby auto body shop. When they were found on Sunday, those three dogs also needed to be treated for malnutrition, Green said.
Garruto, who lives in Bridgewater, N.J., posted his $2,500 bail and was released Sunday. Fancy Pups will remain closed through Dec. 30. That’s the date Garruto is due in court for his restraining order violation.
We would like to thank Woodbridge Patch for reprint permission.