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Allegations Of Animal Abuse At High-End Manhattan Pet Store

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An undercover investigation found that conditions were more shocking than the price tag at a high-end boutique-style kennel in Manhattan, according to the Humane Society.

The nonprofit said a two-month investigation found sick dogs with fevers, open wounds and infections at the Chelsea Kennel Club, where puppies can sell for up to $4,000.

The Humane Society's John Goodwin calls it pure neglect.

"The Chelsea Kennel Club, instead of taking animals to the veterinarian when they needed immediate medical care, would delay and give the dogs things like aspirin, or Robitussin, or bird antibiotics," Goodwin said.

The Humane Society also accuses the store of misleading buyers.

"There was a failure to provide full disclosure about the medical history of these puppies, forms were removed from the files before they were handed over to new customers," Goodwin said.

In one case, Goodwin said they sent in a secret shopper who bought a sick puppy.

"The store did not reveal to the shopper that the puppy was sick," Goodwin said. "We got her home and she had bronchitis, it evolved and became pneumonia and her new veterinarian said that this little shiba inu puppy may have permanent lung scarring as a result."

In another case, Goodwin said a secret shopper "bought a chihuahua who had been returned for biting her previous owner and drawing blood and there was no disclosure about the bite history of that puppy."

Goodwin said a hidden camera also caught several employees being rough with the puppies.

"Swatting them with towels, holding them down to exert dominance, holding their muzzle while puppy screams, hitting another with a chew toy," Goodwin said.

The kennel club said the videos were "grossly misleading" and spliced together by a former employee who videotaped the animals after they had been removed to an isolation room for being ill.

"It's easy to make anyone look bad if that is the intention, especially with puppies," the owner said in a statement. "I have been working for 30 years to build reputation of special pet shop with trained employee to give the best health care for the puppies. Just because in a few months we had some puppies that doesn't feel well doesn't mean we don't treat the puppies well."

The store was briefly open Tuesday morning and then shut again within an hour.

The state Attorney General's Office is looking into the allegations.

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