Today, animal welfare lawyer Dante DiPirro filed for entry of a fraud judgment on behalf of Rachelle Russomanno against Ann L. Wasserman of 341 Skyline Lakes Drive, Ringwood NJ (aka Annie Wasserman, Meshugga Kennels, and/or MovieTime Meshuga Pugs and Labradors) for sale of a sick puppy dog. The lawsuit was brought in Passaic County Superior Court Special Civil Part seeking damages, treble damages, and attorney’s fees for fraud, breach of contract and breach of warranty arising from Wasserman’s sale of a sick Pug puppy to Russomanno and other unconscionable business practices. Wasserman failed to answer the complaint and the Court entered a default against her. Russomanno now files for entry of a judgment ordering Wasserman to pay specified damages and costs in excess of $15,000.
The complaint, which was filed in January 2017, alleged that: Wasserman operated her puppy selling business out of a used-car lot; falsely stated that she had never had a problem with any of the dogs she had sold health-wise or otherwise; failed to give Russomanno a complete animal history and signed health certificate; and sold her a sick puppy that Wasserman had obtained from Tennessee.
The complaint further alleged that when the puppy started having seizures, Wasserman concealed the fact that other buyers of her dogs had complained that their dogs had health problems, including seizures and encephalitis, and that Russomanno spent thousands of dollars in veterinary costs trying to diagnose her dog’s illness as it continued to worsen. When Russomanno mailed a certified letter to Wasserman complaining about her dog’s seizures and poor health, Wasserman refused to accept delivery of the letter. After enduring progressively worse seizures, numerous veterinary diagnoses (including MRIs, spinal taps and neurology consults), veterinary treatments (including mediations and chemo-therapy), and being unable to walk, Russomanno’s puppy passed away from her illness.
“I brought this law suit to stop Wasserman from doing this again and to make certain that my dear puppy Brandi’s suffering and death were not in vain,” said Russomanno. She added: “The importance of this suit goes far beyond me and my dog: since filing, other victims have been coming forward to say that Wasserman sold them sick dogs too.”
New Jersey has strong consumer fraud laws. They prohibit a person from making a material misrepresentation (by omission or action) or engaging in unconscionable business practices. With regard to the sale of dogs and cats, the laws additional require the seller take a number of specified measures designed to protect consumers. These include having the animal examined by a New Jersey licensed veterinarian prior to sale, providing a complete animal history, and providing a signed health certificate that covers specified criteria.
“Anyone in the business or selling dogs or cats that does not comply the consumer fraud laws faces liability, treble damages and attorney’s fees” said Russomanno’s lawyer, Dante DiPirro, an animal welfare lawyer in Hopewell New Jersey.