WESTAMPTON, N.J. (WPVI) --Puppies once housed at a now-shuttered south Jersey pet store are now healthy and ready to be placed in their forever homes.
Action News was there as Chelsea, a four month old golden retriever, found herself back in the arms of her owner, Tiffany Steely.
Steely was picking Chelsea up at the Burlington County Animal Shelter. The dog was diagnosed with the contagious and deadly parvovirus right after she was purchased at the now-closed Puppy Barn on Route 206 in Springfield.
"We were terrified for her. It was heartbreaking: bringing her home and then immediately having to bring her back," Steely said. "But I could not be happier that we are reunited."
Her complaint about what happened triggered an investigation, and 77 puppies from the Puppy Barn were removed and quarantined.
Several were treated for parvovirus and other issues, but now they are healthy and being released to new owners.
The puppies were selling for between $1,000 and $1,500 at the Puppy Barn. The county animal shelter is charging a fee of $300 to cover costs for their care.
"Some of them were sick, and they were all showing signs, so we ended up nursing them back to health," said Burlington County Freeholder Bruce Garganio.
Those interested in adopting had to apply online and were picked by the lottery.
"We vaccinated everybody to make sure they had vaccines on board, and we immediately started to monitor them throughout the second course of this quarantine," said the shelter's director, Daisha Pierce.
Jordan Distler was picking up a new Dalmatian puppy after the first one she bought at the puppy barn died.
"They closed down, so that's the best outcome, I guess. No more dogs, no more people that will have to go through what we went through," Distler said.
The county and the SPCA are still investigating, but in the meantime - with help from the adoption fee lottery - the shelter is now able to offer free adoptions for any pet currently housed here.
The shelter is located on Academy Drive in Westampton.