Don’t put heartbreak under the tree

Puppy-sellers will lie, cheat, and steal to make a buck

Los Angeles, CA (12/19/19)A lawsuit was filed Wednesday against a family out of Phelon who allegedly bred and sold sick puppies online. Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (spcaLA) cautions consumers not to give business to puppy peddlers this holiday season.

“Buying a puppy from a pusher often results in personal heartbreak and veterinary bills, while at the same time it gives the pusher enough capital to abuse and neglect the next litter of puppies for sale,” said spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein. “Put them out of business – don’t buy. Looking for a ‘Designer Dog’? Adopt a Chihuerrier (Chihuahua-Terrier), a Shepsky (Shepherd-Husky), or any one of a million one-of-a-kind shelter dogs genuinely in need of homes.”

The puppies in the Phelon lawsuit are alleged to have been sold sick and underage, with faked immunization records. One family thought it was purchasing a healthy female Goldendoodle, but what they got was a very sick, underage, male Maltipoo – who ultimately died.

Puppy from Sick Puppy Peddler Case, June 2019

“You’d think selling puppies wouldn’t be a go-to criminal enterprise, but if all that matters to you is making money, it’s pretty lucrative,” said Captain Cesar Perea, spcaLA Animal Cruelty Investigations. “Criminals remove the costs of providing adequate veterinary care, enrichment, housing, and ethical breeding practices.”

spcaLA Humane Officers investigate animal cruelty, compiling complicated cases for prosecution, like the recent “Sick Puppy Peddler Case.” spcaLA’s investigation into the actions of Gustavo Gonzalez resulted in Gonzalez being charged with 73 criminal counts for selling puppies that became very ill soon after they were sold to more than two dozen victims. Gonzalez has been in custody since June 2019 with $1,055,000 bail.

spcaLA is the only private animal welfare organization in Los Angeles that is also Law Enforcement. spcaLA Humane Officers hold the same powers of Peace Officers in the state of California when investigating animal cruelty. spcaLA is a non-profit agency that relies on donations for its programs and services, including animal cruelty investigations. To donate, please visit or call 323-730-5300 x3233.