TENAFLY, N.J. — The owner of a Tenafly pet rescue operation has been quietly buying puppies from a puppy store owner from Emerson and then selling them for profit, a group of advocates alleges.
Robyn Urman bought the dogs from Just Pups owner Vinny LoSacco -- who was forced to close his final shop last week amid a firestorm of controversy -- through LoSacco's brokers business called "Canine Commerce," Advocates for Animal Shelter Change in New Jersey contended Sunday morning.
The group provided a photo of a $1,950 check that members say Urman wrote to Delaware-based pet broker in October.
Urman says she paid thousands of dollars in vet bills after purchasing the dogs from LoSacco, and adopted many out to forever homes.
But reformers founder Collene Wronko explained what Urman is doing goes against the philosophy of animal rescue.
"If you're a 501c, you're not there to make a profit," she said.
"Puppy mills are the bad people, that's who [rescues] fight against. The whole point of rescue is to go and pull from shelters, or senior dogs, or dogs with big medical issues — not buy puppies from someone who is a puppy miller."
Urman last week told Daily Voice that puppy mills need to be shut down, but other activists are saying purchasing the dogs from LoSacco only perpetuates business..
Urman says the only time she paid LoSacco for dogs was in July before they went to auction in Missouri. When asked about the October check, she said it was a continuation of the money that she owed LoSacco from July.
LoSacco, in turn, says she never owed him money and maintains that October was "probably the only time" that Urman paid him for his dogs.
"And my opinion is: 'So what?' " LoSacco told Daily Voice. "She'll overpay for a dog so it goes to a home and not a breeding facility, but I don't understand the big deal about a check."
Wronko said she and other local rescues have suspected Urman has been "puppy flipping" for almost three years.
"Now," she said, "we have the evidence to prove she's been purchasing from LoSacco."