Today’s news:

Rego Pk biz sold dog fur

The company’s website displays a product confirmed to contain dog fur. Photo courtesy Pierre Grzybowski/HSUS
TimesLedger Newspapers

A Rego Park company will have to pay a hefty fine after an investigation found that the firm advertised and sold products containing dog fur, a federal crime, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Following a two-year investigation that involved purchasing and testing numerous products, The Humane Society of the United States revealed that Unique Product Enterprises had violated the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000, which bans the import and interstate advertisement and sale of items made from dog and cat fur.

Penalties for this act include a $10,000 fine per violation, according to U.S. Customs.

After finding that dogs had been killed to make the products, the Humane Society referred the matter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which launched its own investigation that resulted in the removal of advertisements for the products from the Russian company’s website.

Pierre Grzybowski, policy and enforcement manager for the Human Society’s Fur-Free Campaign, said the society got the tip about the website’s practices from a Russian-speaking Queens woman, who saw the products and contacted the animal rights group.

“She saw the advertisement in a Russian-language magazine and she was rightly outraged,” said Grzybowski. “After we got the tip, we collected evidence and eventually passed it along to law enforcement. We put together a strong enough case with as much evidence as we could so that law enforcement would take immediate action on it.”

According to Grzybowski, the Humane Society purchased four items for its investigation: a blanket, a vest, a pair of gloves and a belt. Independent laboratory analysis determined the fur contained in the products was “consistent with having originated from a domestic dog.”

One product contained a manufacturing label with Chinese characters, indicating a company in western China made the product. Grzybowski cautioned people to understand the deadly difference between dog hair and dog fur.

“This wasn’t dog hair that was sheered of the dog — this is dog fur with the skin. These animals were skinned for their pelts and that is not a humane practice,” he said. “Much of the domestic dog fur in the world market comes from China, where conditions are brutal — animals beaten, crammed into tiny cages and even skinned alive.”

When the number on the website was called, a woman answered and said it was now a “private number and the website is shut down.” When told the website was still up and running, the woman said the company now sells “new products,” but would not comment on the investigation or what other products were sold in the past.

Grzybowski said what concerns the Humane Society the most is how much fur is being sold as something else. He said this company was brazen and upfront about what it was selling, but other companies might not be so truthful.

“How many customers are being duped by false labeling and buying dog when they think they are buying coyote or another animal?” he asked.

He urges anyone with tips on companies that might be selling dog fur to contact the Humane Society via its Facebook page at facebook.com/HSUSFurFree.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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Reader Feedback

Carol from USA says:
WOW - H$U$ actually did what they say they are supposed to be doing - what a change!!!!!
July 27, 2012, 10:49 am
doug from usa says:
there should be a HUGE distinction when writing these articles many people make items made from dog "fur" what you are writing about is articles made from dog PELTS.. not dog fur as stated in your headline...
it might be noted that the HSUS is an animal rights organization that wants NO ONE to wear ANY fur..including indigenous Eskimos and Indian populations
July 27, 2012, 2:13 pm
Chloe from Flushing says:
I am so outraged by this! ONLY a $10,000 fine per violation? come on they ALSO should be facing a lengthy prison term!
July 29, 2012, 9:30 am
Donna from Middle Village says:
This is so sick!!! I want to know why this wasn't reported in the rest of the media? We hear about who is cheating on who only these days. It's important for the neighborhood to know this is going on. Thank you Times Ledger for breaking the story. These people obviously are ruthless and don't care where or how they get their money - they're probably also involved in other crimes just as disgusting!
July 29, 2012, 10:39 am
Lumis from Forest Hills says:
Yet another embarrassing black mark on Rego Park caused by foreign born criminals. These geeks should be fined, imprisoned, and deported. How disgusting, makes one wonder what’s really inside their food products.
Aug. 7, 2012, 8:49 am

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