On the heels of the investigation by the Humane Society of the United States into the source of puppies sold by the pet store chain, Petland, Mark and Eglaeh Blasko, former Petland franchisees, have filed a lawsuit, openly stating Petland forced them to sell sick dogs from Hunte Corporation’s puppy mills and accusing both companies of sleazy, illegal business practices.
The lawsuit is brought against Petland, Inc.; Hunte Kennel Systems and Animal Care, Inc. and Hunte Delivery System, Inc.
Petland, Inc. is said to have recruited Blasko to open a franchise in the Indianapolis area. The agreement required Blasko to purchase puppies from Hunte.
Watch the HSUS video at the end of this article about the 8 month HSUS investigation revealing Petland obtains puppies from deplorable puppy mills.
According to the Complaint, more than one half of the first 60-65 puppies delivered to Blasko were ill with such conditions as parvo, pneumonia, upper respiratory infection and ringworm. Blasko spent thousands in veterinary care to treat the poor dogs.
Blasko says Hunte continued to send sick dogs to for sale in Blasko’s store. He said that, at first, neither Petland nor Hunte responded to his complaints. Then, according to the Complaint, Hunte agreed to retrieve the sick puppies but said the veterinary bills were too high and would only reimburse a fraction of these costs. This after Blasko’s veterinarian had given him a 50-75% discount.
Blasko also found himself paying the veterinary bills of customers who had to provide treatment for sick dogs purchased at his store.
With his reputation ruined and having lost money on the franchise, Blasko tried to sell the business. He said Petland refused to provide financing for a prospective purchaser, claiming with the high rent and loan amount required, he could not make money. According to Blasko, this was the same rent and loan amount Petland approved for Blasko. In fact, he said Petland had selected the location for the store as well.
Blasko was forced to close the business, and the finance company took the assets. Then, according to the Complaint, Petland stepped in and arranged for the same prospective buyer Blasko had found to obtain financing to open the store as a franchise.
Blasko also claims that prior to entering into the franchise agreement, Petland misled him about the revenues and costs. He said Petland would never show him documentation to substantiate their numbers.
In his lawsuit Blasko accuses Petland of violating the anti-trust laws with an illegal tying arrangement. 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1 According to the Complaint, Petland requires franchisees to acquire many goods and services from Petland and specified vendors, particularly Hunte.
Blasko charges Petland and Hunte conspired to violate the anti-trust laws through an illegal tying arrangement.
Blasko also brings claims against Petland for racketeering in violation of RICO, 18 U. S.C. Sec. 1962(C; fraud, negligence, and breach of contract. Hunte is also charged with breach of implied and express warranties of merchantability for selling sick puppies.
The lawsuit is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.