Last week, 's council in passing an ordinance that prohibits the retail sale of dogs and cats inside their borders.
Doreen Longo said she was glad to see that some towns in New Jersey are taking the controversial step to discourage live trafficking in companion animals, many of which are purchased from Pennsylvania 'puppy mills' and come to their new owners, sick and diseased.
"," Longo said. "Woodbridge will never ban the sale of poor puppies and kittens.
Longo should know. The dog lover, who hails from Toms River, has been in and out of court in Woodbridge and New Brunswick, the county seat, ever since she last year from an Avenel pet store.
The puppy, named Sasha, and other diseases two weeks after she bought it as a gift for her daughter. Longo spent thousands on emergency vet care to try to keep the animal alive, but the puppy died in her arms, despite all the care lavished on it.
Since then, Longo has hauled Rocco Garruto, the owner of Fancy Pups, into court.
For his part, Garruto has in Superior Court and trying to get her to stop posting about her experiences with Garruto on the Internet.
"I'm proud of the Brick mayor and council," Longo said. "It saddens me, though, that as many times as Rocco has been in front of the municipal court and the town is aware of his dirty dealings, still they allow him to continue to doing business as usual."
Earlier this month, Garruto pleaded guilty to seven charges in a series of suits brought by the Middlesex County Department of Consumer Affairs in Woodbridge Municipal Court. Consumer Affairs handles 'puppy lemon law' cases inside the county.
Longo's case was one of the complaints, but she didn't receive any money from Garruto since she is suing him in a separate civil action. He was ordered to pay several thousand dollars to the Consumer Affairs plaintiffs as a means of settling their grievances over their puppy problems.
Longo said she was the only puppy owner present at the Woodbridge court case. "I got phone calls left and right, the puppy owners who bought their dogs from Rocco never got any notification," she said.
She'll be in county court again on Wednesday, this time for another round of Garruto trying to to stop her from voicing her complaints against him.
"None of this would've happened if he had just refunded the money for the puppy and my vet bills," Longo said. Her case against Garruto will be heard early next year, she said.
"People should know what's going on. With all these cases in Woodbridge against Garruto, the mayor [John McCormac] and the council do nothing to protect people from an unscrupulous seller," Longo said.
McCormac said he had purchased a puppy at Fancy Pups and was pleased with the result. Since Longo's complaints have gone public, Garruto has said that he's experienced financial hardship and of his sales as puppy buyers have avoided his store.
"Other towns like Brick and Point Pleasant care enough to stop the sale of puppies and kittens. What's wrong with Woodbridge?" she asked.