Western Brooklyn

Bensonhurst Puppy Dealer Scrutinized After Yorkie Death [Updated]

9-month-old Nyla (Source: Facebook)
9-month-old Nyla (Source: Veronica Giovan/Facebook)

A Bensonhurst pet store is facing scrutiny after a heartbroken customer claimed her tiny Yorkie died a day after she purchased it.

Veronica Giovan, who took home 1.25-pound, 9-week-old Nyla from The Puppy Boutique (8002 17th Avenue) on Sunday, wrote in a Facebook post that she immediately fell in love with the tiny pup.

But after one night in her new home, Nyla began shaking and crying, so Giovan said she called the pet store thinking the dog was having a seizure. She says she was told to bring Nyla in:

 After we got there they said oh no worries its just low blood sugar that wasn’t a seizure and gave her more food and some gatorade? Anyways. I brought her back home and she puked about 13 times non stop within that half hour, it was coming out of her nose too I had to hold her a certain way for her to breath I took her back to the store once again, They told me they’d take her for the night since they have a “vet” there. Bullshit! My regret is not taking her to the real vet right away instead of going back to these assholes. They promised she’d be fine, that she was just stressed and the “vet” will watch her over night, they probably didn’t even look at her the whole night. The next morning the owner called me while I was work saying Nylah died, no explaination whatsoever, no nothing. She had only stayed 1 night with me.

The puppy dealer, which specializes in toy breeds and sells between 5,000 and 7,000 dogs a year, has wracked up dozens of complaints of health problem-ridden dogs on the Consumer Affairs website, and less than favorable reviews on Yelp.

Philip Reinhardt, the owner of The Puppy Boutique (claiming to be a store manager named “James Boyer”), told us these kinds of complaints are not uncommon for pet dealers that handle their kind of volume.

“I could show you contracts from the floor to the ceiling; what is online is less than 1 percent,” said Reinhardt.

He claims Nyla died from hypoglycemia because Giovan failed to care for the dog properly, which needed to be fed frequently because of its size.

“You can’t take a pound and a half dog and make it a show piece to your friends,” said Reinhardt. “She drove it around, she stressed it out, it had no food in the stomach — basically she killed it.”

The Puppy Boutique (Photo: Google Maps)
The Puppy Boutique, 8002 17th Avenue (Photo: Google Maps)

The Puppy Boutique has refunded Giovan’s money and Reinhardt says they have requested an autopsy report from the veterinarian.

Meanwhile, Giovan said she exchanged numbers with another customer on the same day she purchased Nyla, and that the other puppy is also having health issues.

“They are heartless scammers, only go to someone who can show you both dog parents and have PROOF of age and health history,” she warned in the post.

Have you had purchased a toy breed from The Puppy Boutique? Post your experiences in the comments below.

Update [June 9, 2016, 9am]: Reinhardt has shared an “autopsy report” with Bensonhurst Bean in the form of a note from a veterinarian, which states that a gross autopsy did not reveal any cause of death, but that hypoglycemia was the likely cause.

Here is a copy of the note: Veronica Vet Report

Meanwhile, a sign has appeared on poles outside The Puppy Boutique, urging customers to avoid purchasing dogs from puppy mills, which place profits ahead of the animals’ well beings.

Submitted by reader Brian Doherty
Submitted by reader Brian Doherty

Correction [June 9, 2016]: An earlier version of this article quoted “James Boyer,” an alleged manager of The Puppy Boutique. An anonymous tipster notified us that “James” is an alias of the store’s owner Philip Reinhardt. When we called the location and asked for Phil Reinhardt, a woman who answered passed the phone to the same individual who initially claimed to be “James.”

Department of Building records also indicate that the phone number we called is registered to owner Philip Reinhardt.

Comment policy


  1. My dog has ear problem and joint problem. Wen to the vet they provided and came home with ear infection and etc. Went to find my own vet and turn out the store wasn’t taking good care of the puppies there. Sad.

  2. Bensonhurst, Brooklyn—Share! Share! Share! I cannot believe they’re still in business. I got my chihuahua here for FREE 10 years ago! They gave me a puppy to silence me from exposing them to the news. She was sick on and off her whole life, she died at the young chihuahua age of 7 of diabetic ketoacidosis.

    They’re not reputable breeders. They’re a puppy mill! They were breeding runts to make the dreaded “teacup” chihuahua. They need to go out of business!!

  3. Omg I bought my teacup may 28th same as this woman . My Mia has been in hospital for one week 4000.00 medical bills because I refused to put her to sleep . She has Guardia. It’s very very very contagious. My other 3 dogs have it now. So most of the teacups will die . Please tell your vet that they have Guardia. Please don’t put to sleep . Make this store pay . His family member brags he sells 200000 puppies so what’s 100 bad reviews . You all keep buying them

  4. I got my toy Chihuahua from there in Jan 2008 & he’s perfectly fine at 8 yrs old. I know many ppl who Have gotten puppies there and had absolutely no issues.. I will always recommend people to puppy boutique..!!

  5. You’re all just trying to point the finger at someone else.. my son is 8yrs old and has absolutely no issues what so ever. All of my family and friends gave gotten puppies there and not one of them gave any health issues and are perfectly healthy. You ppl are obviously doing something wrong. Stop pointing fingers and look in the mirror!!

  6. When well intentioned but uninformed people insist on certain characteristics in their pets, they set themselves and the animals up for heartache and major vet bills, if not death of the pet. Heads so deformed that eye sockets are too shallow to hold the eyeball in, teeth that won’t fit, skulls that don’t close and expose the brain, bones like matchsticks with no room for a knee cap, shortened skulls that crimp the windpipe in a crooked space, dwarf misaligned joints. The list goes on. In a world where information has never been more available, buy now, cry later still rules. What is the answer?

  7. I bought my dog from them 8 years ago. A female Shitzu. I call her my $10,000 dog. From the first 6 months that I have had her she has always had some issue. She has had stomach issues, anima, allergies, skin and ear infections and now she has joint and disc problems. They sell sick puppy mill dogs.. It’s such a shame. We are constantly in and out of the vet and she is has always been on some sort of medication. Not fair to the animal or their owners.. I would never recommend them to anyone..

  8. Bought 2 from there one is 11 years old and the other is 10 got the first one when he was 6 months old and the 2nd when she was 3 months old…both were fine when I got them and still good till this day

  9. Or maybe you got the golden child out of a sea of sick puppies. Also not making a good argument citing an example from a puppy bought eight years ago, when the issues are mainly from puppies bought much more recently.

  10. I bought my shih tzu, Maya from there 10 years when she was only 8 weeks old. She is great, no health problems at all.

  11. I brought my tea cup yorkie back in Feb and his sugar dropped as well the next day but I got him back on track with following the orders in the pamphlet . The first vet visit the doctor stated he was healthy and cleared him medically and stated sometimes it happens with smaller breeds. My tea cup yorkie is doing fine . My dog is a sweetheart and the only complaint I have about him is that he is bad..


  12. Ok for the person who replied I hot the golden child. please him my, i know three family members who have gotten puppies there recently like three months ago there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them. So again stop pointing the fingers at other ppl and take responsibility for your own actions! !!

  13. Hi Friends & Neighbors:

    Download the high-res pdf here, please share with your friends and neighbors: https://www.docdroid.net/Id3PGQu/puppyboutique-copy.pdf.html

    Still unsure? Read the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA)
    Veterinary Report on Puppy Mills here: http://www.hsvma.org/assets/pdfs/hsvma_veterinary_report_puppy_mills.pdf

    I don’t know about you but I can’t stand to know that such cruel actions are taking place in my neighborhood. Please help if you can.

  14. This place is a KNOWN puppy mill operating for years! Just check the complaints with the BBB on their website. I bought a Yorkie puppy here in 99 and I later found out he had pneumonia and kennel cough. He almost died and all they were willing to do was give me another puppy. My wife told the owner “but then what the hell happens to THIS puppy?!”. We kept out of fear they would just let him die rather than spend the money on vet bills. We ended up spending about $2000 on vet bills. Buddy ended up being the love of our families lives for the next 8 years until passing away of cancer. They do a lot of inbreeding too which is a MAJOR cause of illness in these dogs.

  15. I bought my dog from there, first week he had a seizure my heart almost broke. From what I read in a different article this women went to the stores in house vet? I took benji to an animal hospital and made sure he got the care he needed because I didn’t trust them. Spent thousands over the next few months but did whatever had to do. When I called the store they told me it’s not their problem, and to research how to take care of a dog. I only called them to see if they had records of his family maybe it was soemthing genetic. Turns out my dog wasn’t from a “farm in Long Island” he is an inbred from the store! Still love my special yorkie even though he’s insane lol

  16. Ok so I don’t know if people know this but teacup dogs are way more fragile than any other dog. Think of them as a premature baby it needs extra care and more nutrition and they get hypoglycemia easily since they are so small which can cause a seizure. Im just saying most of you are saying common complications a a newborn teacup puppy. Do your research before you point fingers at a famous store who has millions of normal dogs out there. One case of a over frantic woman who is doing everything in her power to ruin this stores reputation should know speak blandly of its owner. Do your research be knowledgable. By the way guardia as a person wrote before is an intestinal parasite that can be found in feces which means any dog from any store who might have contact with other dogs feces or contaminated water can become infected because just like a newborn and especially premi, it’s can be immunodeficient and get infected easily.

  17. I bought my Yorkie from this pet store 9 years. She’s the best dog but she has several health issues. First of all, they lied and said she was a toy Yorkie, she is tall for a Yorkie and about 15 lbs. Second, a week after having her she had pneumonia and had to be on a nebulizer for a few weeks. In addition to that, she has seizures all the time. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS PLACE!

  18. I had gotten my dog there about 14 years ago. She was a mini dachshund. We thought she was just a thin haired dachshund but she actually had skin problems and was never able to grow her hair (kind of like alopecia). She had no hair on parts of her body. I chose her at that time because she was the most energetic, happy and loving dog, but she had so many issues besides her skin.

  19. I love how the article says that the owner is a man, When in fact the store has been female owned since the late 1990’s get on right people

  20. The store is owned by a woman since the 1990s The article is incorrect. And there are no phones registered to any one at this location, But the owner who again is a female, at this address , As the article states. I rent the Loft next door and know the owner personally. They are giving the wrong information in this article.

  21. In other words, RUNTS are fragile and unhealthy. Teacup dogs are runts bred over many generations for greed. Consumers are ignorant and just want tiny dogs. Store owners feed off of this ignorance

  22. I bought both of my pups there. My Bichon is now 11 years old and my Shih Tzu is 8. Both are small for their breed and I only had issues down the line with each, the Bichon because he ate something he shouldn’t have, and my Shih Tzu has allergies, anemia and hormonal issues (which my vet stated is associated with her breed and size). I understand that some animals may fall ill when their environment changes (as I have learned with my Shih Tzu who’s allergies sky rocketed when she moved with me to Florida), and that some breeds require more care than others- especially the Mini’s and toys. But I have also seen puppy/ animal stores in both Brooklyn & Tampa that have sick dogs on the sales floor for display, because just like humans, animals can become sick as well. My heart goes out to the baby yorkie and her family as I would never wish that on anyone. However, both of my experiences at this location have been positive ones.

  23. First of all, the entire neighborhood knows that Puppy Boutique is a puppy mill with crooked and shady background. They lure the parents of young students who go to New Utrecht High School because these young kids fall in love with the puppies in the window they see everyday. They then bring their parents from their own neighborhood, not Bensonhurst, to ‘go check out the puppy store by my high school.’

    They don’t provide adequate documentation for all of their puppies, and everyone knows the conditions in that place are sub-par as it is. To be completely fair, it’s the fault of the uninformed consumer in this case. 1. If the price of the puppy is too good to be true, which usually it is in Puppy Boutique (after you haggle them down), then obviously maybe there is something else going on. 2. I had a friend buy a yorkie from Puppy Boutique, which they claimed was not a tea-cup, but turned out to be. The yorkie never grew more than 3 inches in the 10 years they’ve had it. Luckily my friend isn’t a scumbag and took the puppy in as his own, regardless.

    I remember reading stories years ago of the same owner using multiple aliases, back when the New York Times and New York Post were lighting his store on fire with accusations from the neighborhood about how shady their practices are. What they say is true, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

  24. My dog was brought back to them with a severe case of kennel cough. He didn’t look good after a week of having him and I took him to the vet who then called them. They took him back and cared for him for two weeks. At 6 months old he was diagnosed with joint issues and had to have surgery. His ‘warranty’ was for 2 weeks. He isn’t allowed to gain weight due to their poor breeding practices. The vet they recommended even told me my dogs issues were genetic. I love my pooch to death but I would not recommend this place.

  25. It’s 2016 and people are still buying from pet stores and breeders?
    Why are shelter dogs still irrelevant to people?
    Is saving a life not enticing enough to adopt a shelter/rescue dog?
    Looks like sheer arrogance and ignorance is still alive and well, how refreshing..

  26. The article is wrong, the store is owned by a woman. since 1996 not a man as the web site states, get your facts straight before you make false postings

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