PARAMUS, N.J. -- The Paramus Board of Health cancelled a hearing Monday night after the owner of a pet shop where police found 67 dogs crated overnight in a van outside agreed to surrender his borough license.
More than three dozen spectators turned out for the anticipated hearing for Just Pups owner Vincent LoSacco only to learn that it had been cancelled at the 11th hour.
LoSacco and his brother, Leonard, are still scheduled for arraignment in Central Municipal Court in Hackensack on May 10 on 134 counts each of animal cruelty filed by the Bergen County SPCA.
Animal rights advocates on Monday said they also intended to attend Tuesday night's Emerson Borough Council meeting to urge officials there to close LoSacco's Just Pups store in that town.
LoSacco cleared out his Paramus location, moving the remaining dogs there to Emerson -- where he's offered them for sale at half price -- and into the hands of a local animal rescue organization.
Emerson Mayor Lou Lamatina, who attended the Paramus hearing Monday night, said he might ask the council to consider an ordinance banning the commercial sale of puppies or kittens in the borough. A similar ordinance was adopted in Cherry Hill.
He also said he would discuss the issue at a meeting of Pascack Valley mayors that he was headed to after the scheduled hearing.
LoSacco, an Emerson native, has steadfastly insisted that he did nothing wrong.
"If there was any inhumane treatment, it was perpetrated by the individual who ordered that the van be dragged across the parking lot, put it at a 45-degree angle on the tow truck and then brought it to the animal hospital," he told Daily Voice.
This was after waiting for two hours from when the dogs were found at 3 a.m. for the tow truck to arrive, LoSacco said.
"Why they disregarded the well-being of the puppies was for them to preserve evidence," he said. "They put preserving evidence over protecting the puppies."
LoSacco, 50, has drawn fire in various quarters for incidents at his Just Pups stores in Paramus, Emerson and East Brunswick .
In March, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals filed 267 animal cruelty charges against him after three dead dogs were recovered from a freezer of his East Brunswick store.
All of the dogs found in the van were examined and/or treated at the Oradell Animal Hospital . Paramus officials later issued 400 citations to LoSacco that were to be heard Monday night.