Broward News

Activists Target Hallandale Beach Puppy Store

The same women behind the recent protest of Michael Vick's appearance at Gulfstream (at which Vick ultimately did not show) are now targeting at least two puppy stores in Hallandale Beach: Best Price Puppies and the newly-opened Baby Doll Yorkies Inc.

Michele Lazarow, a longtime resident of Hallandale, organized dozens people to picket the MI-VI nightclub a few weeks ago, and she expects a large coalition this weekend. The protest is scheduled for 12 p.m. Saturday.

Proprietors of both stores have been on the receiving end of numerous complaints and lawsuits in the last few years, and one now has an entire website dedicated to gathering stories from disgruntled customers.

Best Price Puppies has been the site of previous demonstrations.

Baby Doll Yorkies, located at 614 Atlantic Shores Boulevard, is a new location with an owner familiar to local protesters. The proprietor, Julie Soutullo, previously owned Dixie Pups and Poochie Koochie, both of which were named in several lawsuits and written complaints, available at StopDixiePups.com.

According to complaints, the store charges upwards of $1,200 for designer puppies, and several have been sick or died not long after purchase.

"What they do is a complete, documented scam," says Lazarow. "They sell sick dogs, they keep puppies in deplorable conditions, and Julie Soutullo is a convicted felon. I've got 40 years in Hallandale Beach. We don't need these stores in our neighborhood.

Lazarow says she'd like to see Hallandale Beach be the first city in Florida to adopt an ordinance than prohibits businesses from selling commercially-bred companion animals. "It's a humane response to putting down five to 10 million animals in this country a year. We're killing in mass numbers, and these stores just keep bringing them in."

Neither store responded to messages left this afternoon.

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Michael J. Mooney