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NY Judge hopes to avoid need to euthanize no-kill shelter on Long Island

Courthouse in Riverhead, NY
Courthouse in Riverhead, NY
Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Although Precious Pups in Calverton, LI rescues approximately 50 dogs a week from kill shelters in North Carolina and Texas, the organization is now fighting for its own life due to 20 complaints by adoptive pet parents that their animals “came in poor condition, and that the shelter had falisified veterinary records.” Although this is a relatively small amount when compared to the 1,500 adoptions made by Precious Pets over the past 3 years, it is serious enough to warrant a legal investigation involving New York State’s Attorney General’s office, which has asked Suffolk County Judge Andrew Tarantino Jr. to find a way to keep it open during their investigation.

Although Precious Pets owner Laura Zambito originally ignored supeonas to turn over her records on the (poor) legal advice of her former lawyers, Judge Tarantino emphasized that he will not rush to judgment because of it, and his goal was to “avoid the needless euthanization of dogs” during yesterday’s hearing in Riverhead. However he did grant a temporary restraining order which prevents the shelter from adopting out any of the 80 dogs currently residing there, as well as barring them from accepting any new animals in now in place.

One of Precious Pet’s attending vets, Dr. Russ Star of the St. James Animal Hospital has already testified that he ‘s seen “no sick dogs leave for adoption.” However, Assistant District Attorney General Rachael Anello did tell the court in Riverhead yesterday that the number of original complaints regarding animals in poor condition has doubled. In the meantime, the shelter’s new lawyer, Alan Sash of Manhattan, stated that the organization “would accept any government monitor the AG’s office wants and would also agree to unannounced visits at any time.” Both sides are due back in court tomorrow.