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Judge orders Long Island pet shelter to stop adoptions

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A Long Island animal rescue group has been ordered to stop offering pets for adoption after authorities received complaints that some of the animals were ill and died after they were brought to their new homes.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says his office obtained a temporary restraining order on Tuesday that prohibits the Precious Pups Rescue in Calverton from selling or offering dogs for adoption. The order will remain in effect until a judge can review additional court filings. The company and its managing director, Laura Zambito, were both served with the order on Tuesday.

The nonprofit pet shelter takes possession of stray dogs, accepts surrenders from pet owners who no longer want the animals and also takes dogs from so-called “kill shelters.” Precious Pups then offers the animals for adoption – charging an “adoption fee” – which authorities say is often between $300 and $600. Investigators from the state attorney general’s office became involved when several customers reported the animals were ill.

Sources said the complaints alleged that Precious Pups animals were sometimes very sick, even though the customers were told that the animals had been evaluated by a veterinarian and were healthy. The new pet owners then spent thousands of dollars on veterinary bills to treat and diagnose illnesses. Some of the dogs also passed away days or weeks after they were adopted, according to sources.

Precious Pets has also been accused of failing to provide adequate behavioral training. A source said some of the animals had allegedly caused “bodily injury” to their new owners.

Zambito did not return a message left Wednesday at the store, which is located on Middle Country Road.