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Rego Park Retailer Illegally Sold Dog Fur Clothing, Humane Society Says

By Nigel Chiwaya | July 30, 2012 3:08pm

REGO PARK — A Rego Park retailer is in hot water with U.S. Customs agents for allegedly illegally selling clothing made with fur from dogs that been killed and skinned.

The retailer, Unique Product Enterprises, allegedly sold belts, vests, gloves and blankets made from dog fur, according to the Humane Society of the United States, which announced the practices earlier this month after a two-year investigation, the Queens Times Ledger first reported.

Pierre Grzybowski, manager of the Humane Society’s Fur-Free Campaign, told DNAInfo.com New York that the society began its investigation after receiving a tip from a reader of a New York-based Russian-language magazine who had noticed an ad for dog fur goods.

After receiving the tip, the Humane Society ordered several items from the retailer, including gloves, a blanket, a belt and vest, which had allegedly confirmed that the products contained dog fur.

The Humane Society forwarded their findings to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which opened its own investigation and made the retailer remove the items from their website, the society said.

According to Grzybowski, dog fur is different from dog hair in that fur is still attached to the animal's skin.

"That only comes from killing the animal," Grzybowski said. "We're not talking about shaving or shearing the animal."

Unique Product Enterprises also advertised the products on its website and on YouTube.

The retailer claimed that dog fur provides relief for muscle and back pain, something that Grzybowski said is a common folk-medicine claim in parts of Europe.

Selling dog or cat fur in the United States is a violation of the federal Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Act of 2000.

While the Customs Department declined to comment on the pending investigation, violations of the law carry fines of up to $10,000 for each occurrence.

The company could not be reached for comment.