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Of course, selling fur from man's best friend is kinda illegal, as per the The Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000. That law bars the import, interstate advertisement, and sale of items with dog or cat fur, according to the Society. (And, to be perfectly clear, dog fur is different than dog hair -- it requires the removal of the animal's pelt, meaning they were skinned.)
So what exactly went down with Unique? And is the company still hawking these items?
Pierre Grzybowski, who investigated Unique's offerings, explained what went down.
He told the Voice that the Society got a tip from a Russian-reading New York supporter, who saw the print ad in a magazine and reached out.
The Society then went onto Unique's website, documenting and time-stamping all of the advertisements, eventually purchasing four items advertised as "dog fur" -- including a belt, a vest, a blanket, and gloves -- and then sent them to the lab for testing.
Analysis proved that they were, in fact, made of dog fur.
With the results and ad evidence, the Society passed along the info to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which has since required the company to remove the ads.
Also, Unique might face a $10,000 fine per violation according to the Queens TimesLedger, which seems to have first reported the investigation. (Note: The Humane Society released this info a few days ago, but we haven't seen anything else on it besides the Ledger story and this. Anyway, timing issues aside, we're writing about it because we figure you'd like to know if a business sells dog fur, etc.)
We reached out to Unique to see what's up, but we have not heard back.
We also checked with the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York to see whether prosecutors plan on pressing charges against Unique.
A spokesman would neither confirm nor deny potential plans, as it's the office's policy not to comment on investigations.
In case you're interested, here's a pic of the dog fur belt, taken by the Humane Society. See more photos here.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.