Pet Distress?

Claims Of Animal Mistreatment At Maspeth Store Investigated

Residents in Maspeth voiced concerns that a neighborhood pet shop is mistreating animals-but according to two city agencies, no serious violations were found during inspections.

A reader sent the Times Newsweekly a picture of a dog inside a newspaper-lined pen at a Maspeth pet store whose management, residents claim, have mistreated its creatures.

The Times Newsweekly received several emails from readers complaining about conditions at the Fresh Pond Pet Shop, located at 60- 77 Fresh Pond Rd.

One reader, who requested that this paper withhold their identity, claimed to be “appalled and disturbed by the conditions of this store,” including improper ventilation that subjected visitors to a foul smell.

Dogs, cats and rabbits were observed in their own cages with no food or water. Some of the pets, another resident claimed, were left to wallow in their own filth. Some of the animals were also allowed to roam freely throughout the store.

The exterior of the Fresh Pond Pet Shop on Fresh Pond Road in Maspeth.

“All of these things are complete violations of New York State law as well as obvious violations of basic, humane animal treatment,” said the reader in a letter sent to this paper on Tuesday, Mar. 11. “These poor animals are suffering from starvation, dehydration and loneliness. It is heartbreaking to know that these pet shop owners do not care at all about the animals through which they are trying to make a profit.”

Another individual told the Times Newsweekly the shop was open for just five hours last Friday, and some of the pets inside went nearly a day without food or water.

The individual was at the store last Saturday when officers from the 104th Precinct, responding to a complaint about conditions at the shop, visited the location. Young workers inside the facility were reportedly told to give cats and dogs water immediately.

“They drank the whole bowl of water in 12 seconds, as if they never saw water in their lives,” said the individual, who also asked this paper to withhold their identity.

Law enforcement sources, however, noted no signs of animal cruelty were detected when 104th Precinct officers visited the shop last Saturday night.

According to police, the Fresh Pond Pet Shop’s management were issued summonses for failing to display a business certificate, lacking a permit to operate a pet store and failing to participate in a certified animal handling course.

Sources familiar with the investigation stated the officers observed food and water were provided to the animals and the cages were reasonably clean.

Nevertheless, the precinct referred the matter to the ASPCA and the city Health Department for further investigation.

A Health Department spokesperson told the Times Newsweekly on Tuesday night inspectors visited the shop on Monday and found conditions which “did not warrant a referral to humane law.”

“The owner was found to be operating without a permit and agreed to close while applying for a permit,” the spokesperson added. “The animals will continue to be cared for during this process.”

The Times Newsweekly attempted to contact the shop by phone, but heard a recording indicating the number listed was out of service.

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