Feds Slap Stiff Penalties On ‘Queens Dog Fur’ Firm
Federal customs officials last month slapped a Rego Park firm with multiple fines for advertising and selling products containing dog fur – a federal crime under the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000.
Officials released the stunning revelations following a two-year probe by The Humane Society of the United States that involved purchasing and testing numerous products manufactured and offered for sale by Unique Product Enterprises.
The Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000 bans the import, interstate advertisement and sale of any item manufactured from dog and cat fur.
Penalties for such action include a $10,000 fine for each violation, said officials at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. Law enforcement sources told the Gazette that Unique Product Enterprises is facing “very stiff penalties” for selling the illegally manufactured products.
The Humane Society referred the case to U.S. Customs and Border Protection after the probe revealed that dogs and cats had been killed to make such items as blankets, gloves and vests.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection then launched its own investigation, the results of which forced Unique Products to remove the banned products from the company Web site, federal officials said.
Law enforcement sources said the Humane Society kicked off its investigation after a Queens woman, fluent in Russian, saw the products for sale in a Russian magazine and alerted the nationally acclaimed animal rights group.
Armed with the tip, investigators for the Humane Society purchased some of the illegal items online and alerted legal experts at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Federal investigators purchased four items from the firm, including a blanket, vest, a belt and a pair of gloves that were analyzed by an independent lab and determined to contain fur “consistent with having originated from a domestic dog,” federal officials said.
One of the items bore a label with Chinese lettering, indicating a firm in Western China manufactured the item, officials said.
A spokesperson for The Humane Society urged the public to “take time to understand the difference between dog hair and dog fur.
“The material used in the manufacture of these products was not dog hair that was sheered off these innocent animals,” the spokesperson said. “It was dog fur that was still attached to skin.
“These animals were skinned for their pelts in a method that is anything but humane. Most of the domestic dog fur used in manufacturing is imported by China, where dogs are subjected to brutal beatings and forced to live in cramped, filthy cages. Many of these defenseless animals are skinned alive.