HARRISBURG - The Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection has filed a lawsuit against a Carbon County kennel accused of selling sick dogs that were malnourished and not given proper medical care.

Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan identified the defendants as Costanzo "Gus" Cerino and his dog business, Nacoma Kennel located at 1580 Strohls Valley Road, Lehighton, Carbon County.

Ryan said Cerino sells a variety of dog breeds including; Alaskan Malamute, Bassett Hound, Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, German Sheppard, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, Shiba Inu, Siberian Husky, and Beagle. Dogs range in price from $125 to $1,000.

Cerino claimed on the kennel website that all dogs are "hand-raised from the finest bloodlines with many of the parents having show histories in their lines." The website implies that all dogs being offered for sale are eligible to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). However, Ryan said that Cerino allegedly failed to provide the necessary registration paperwork to consumers to ensure proper registration of their puppies.

Cerino allegedly advertised to prospective consumers that all of the animals received high quality veterinary care. However, many of the dogs that were sold suffered from mange, pneumonia, parasite infections, respiratory infections, Coccida. These dogs were also in poor health due to malnutrition and sub-standard veterinary care.

According to the lawsuit, the kennel's website also falsely advertised that Nacoma Kennel is "PA Preferred, Registered Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement."

Ryan said that in 2010 Cerino's kennel license was revoked by the PA Department of Agriculture.

The lawsuit seeks more than $6,000 in consumer restitution and penalties up to $1,000 for every violation of the Consumer Protection Law.

Consumers who believe they purchased a sick puppy from Nacoma Kennel are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection by calling 1-800-441-2555 to obtain a complaint form or by visiting www.attorneygeneral.gov to file electronically.

The lawsuit was filed in Carbon County Court of Common Pleas by Deputy Attorney General Julia N. Nastasi of the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection.