Wizard of Claws in Big Trouble
TALLAHASSEE - Attorney General Charlie Crist today announced that his
office has sued a Broward County pet store for allegedly defrauding its
customers about the dogs they were purchasing. Wizard of Claws specializes
in the sale of “teacup” dogs, unusually small dogs that are sold for prices
as high as $2,000, but according to consumers the puppies’ pedigrees are
often misrepresented and the dogs end up overgrown and often ill.
Crist’s Economic Crimes Division opened an investigation into the
business after receiving a complaint from a consumer. Investigators
discovered that although Wizard of Claws claimed its dogs were registered
with the American Kennel Club, thus increasing their value, the store owner
was actually purchasing many of the dogs from online auctions without
proper registration or pedigrees. This practice often increases the
likelihood that the dogs are sick when purchased.
"Exploiting a fondness for animals for financial gain is simply
wrong,” said Crist. “It is important to stop this operation and to
compensate those who were victimized.”
Lack of pedigree information also enabled the business owners to
misrepresent the dogs’ full size and weight, leaving many consumers with
dogs larger than they wanted or could accommodate. The misrepresentation
was often not discovered until much later, as many teacup dogs at first
look very similar to larger breeds.
Investigators have received more than 20 sworn statements from consumers who claim they bought puppies from Wizard of Claws but faced serious problems with the dogs, including poor health and the inability to house a dog larger than “teacup” size.
Business owners Jim and Gilda Anderson are named as defendants in the
lawsuit, filed under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The law calls for civil penalties of $10,000 per violation, or $15,000 if
the victim is disabled or a senior citizen. The complaint also seeks an
injunction to require that Wizard of Claws stop selling pets immediately.
To read the actual complaint, click here.