BOSTON – A Shrewsbury man will have to pay $480,000 in penalties and damages to affected customers after falsely advertising and illegally selling dozens of sick and dying bulldog puppies.
According to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, Heath Morse has been ordered to permanantly stop operating an unlicensed and unsanitary pet shop out of his home and a default judgement against Morse has barred him from every selling dogs in the state.
In Nov. 2018, AG Healey filed a lawsuit against Morse, whose businesses included Heath’s Legendary Bulldogs, Dream-A-Bullz, Heath’s English Bulldogs, Heath’s French Bulldogs, New England Bulldogs, and Heath’s Bulldogs, for violating both the Massachusetts Animal Health Law and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.
“Mr. Morse knew he was selling people sick and sometimes fatally ill puppies,” Healey said. “This judgment orders him to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and ensures that he can never again hurt innocent animals.”
From Feb. 2016 to Oct. 2016, Morse sold more than three dozen dogs to consumers in Massachusetts for thousands of dollars each.
According to the AG’s office, Morse falsely advertised on various websites and social media platforms and to numerous customers that he was a longtime bulldog breeder and that the puppies he sold were from five-star living conditions, healthy, of “show-dog quality,” American Kennel Club certified, pure bred, and veterinarian checked.
In reality, the puppies Morse sold were being kept in unsanitary conditions and had serious infectious diseases like Giardia and Parovirus, as well as congenital abnormalities, and ear and eye infections.
More than a quarter of the puppies Morse sold ultimately died, many within a few days of purchase. Morse’s false representations led his customers to later pay thousands more in veterinary bills to treat or euthanize their very sick dogs.
Despite multiple orders from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and Shrewsbury Animal Control to stop, Morse allegedly continued to misrepresent the health and condition of his puppies and operate his illegal, unlicensed pet shop.
“By not complying with state regulations and running an unlicensed pet shop, the defendant deceived consumers and put the health of many dogs at risk,�� said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “We are pleased that a favorable judgment has been reached in this case and remain committed to ensuring that all Massachusetts pet shops comply with the law.”
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