Anyone who bought an animal from a Web site known as Tiny-Toyz.com may want to take a close look at their animal and any paperwork they received during the transaction. The woman who runs the website has been arrested for
grand theft, felony identity theft, using a fraudulent health certificate and multiple violations of Florida's Pet Law.
Law enforcement investigators from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services arrested Cheryl Lee Tyler, 50, of Deland, on Monday. They alleged that she had used "various aliases and provided altered health certificates in selling often gravely ill dogs and cats to customers."
According to state investigators, one person who bought a cat from Tyler realized after the sale that the cat was so sick it had to be euthanized. Another customer told investigators that she had arranged to buy a female cat from Tyler and even had a health certificate for a female cat but later recognized the cat she bought was a male and that the paperwork had been altered to make it appear to be for a female. In another case, someone bought three animals from Tyler and shortly afterwards a veterinarian diagnosed the pets with ringworm, feline herpes and injuries associated with close confinement.
Commissioner Charles Bronson said the case began with a Pet Law complaint to his agency.
In a prepared statement, Bronson's office said the Florida Pet Law requires dogs and cats be at least eight weeks old when they are sold or offered for sale. The law also requires each animal must be accompanied by a Florida health certificate signed by a veterinarian within the past 30 days documenting required vaccinations, tests and treatments for internal and external parasites. And, the law requires a dealer to provide a purchaser with information on the buyer's rights under the law, including the right to return, exchange or receive reimbursement for veterinary expenses if an animal is deemed unfit by a licensed veterinarian within 14 days of purchase.