CAPS Lawsuit Victory: Puppy Heaven


Stipulation and Proposed Order Mandates that Puppy Heaven Stop Making False Claims on Website

Puppy Heaven Lawsuit 

In 2020, CAPS and a California consumer plaintiff sued Las Vegas-based Puppy Heaven for consumer fraud and misrepresentation, unfair business practices, fraudulent deceit, and negligence. The plaintiff and two other customers, all of whom we feature in our short documentary, purchased their puppies by video phone calls. Puppy Heaven, which claims to be the home of teacup and toy puppies, was delivering already purchased puppies to parking lots in Tarzana, California. Under California law, it is illegal to sell or give away animals in parking lots. Puppy Heaven stopped using parking lots for deliveries of puppies after we filed the lawsuit.

In a judicial Stipulation and Proposed Order dated 4/16/24, Puppy Heaven agreed to stop making misleading claims on their website about teaming up and building bonds with breeders, saying no to subpar breeders, and making regular visits to breeders to ensure “continuous enhancement in both the well-being of our puppies and the methods employed in their upbringing.”

The lawsuit by the customer continues. In addition, San-Diego, California-based animal law attorney Bryan Pease, who has represented CAPS in several lawsuits against pet shops, just filed an amended class action complaint, which means that other plaintiffs will be able to join the lawsuit against Puppy Heaven if the class action is allowed to proceed.

Puppy Heaven delivers puppies by truck to customers in California and ships puppies by plane to customers in other states. They claimed to have a “puppy nursery” in Tarzana, California, although that was a home belonging to Puppy Heaven owner Ben Eshel (who also uses the last name of Ashel). Puppy Heaven might have kept puppies temporarily at this house before dropping them off with customers. Eshel’s main residence is in Las Vegas, although he is now also associated with a residence in Littlerock, which is a small town in a remote part of Los Angeles County.  Some of the breeders who sold to Star Yorkie, Eshel’s first pet shop, were in LIttlerock.  Selling puppies and kittens that a customer does not see in person at the time of the sale requires a USDA license, which Puppy Heaven does not have.

Breeders and Brokers Selling to Puppy Heaven

Puppy Heaven was obtaining many of its puppies from Pinnacle Pet, a large broker in Missouri. CAPS has investigated some of the breeders who sell to Pinnacle Pet.

A 2024 certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI), which is an interstate health certificate, shows Select Puppies, the large broker in Iowa investigated by CAPS, selling to Puppy Heaven. CAPS’ documentary The Truth Behind Online Puppy Sales also features Select Puppies.

Breeders on 2024 CVIs include Phil Hoover (Show Me Puppies) in Missouri, .Milton Lewis in Nebraska, and Landon Headings in Missouri. Hoover, whose facility had 525 dogs and puppies at  the most recent USDA inspection on 4/18/24,  sells to pet shops through online broker PBT Marketplace. Lewis had 324 dogs and puppies at his last inspection, which was nearly two years ago on 6/28/22. Headings had 241 dogs and puppies at his 4/20/23 inspection. We believe  Lewis and Headings are also selling to Puppy Heaven through PBT Marketplace.

Another recent CVI showed QD Kennels in Missouri, owned by Tony Schindler. CAPS investigated his parents’ puppy mill, which had more than 3,000 dogs, although Tony Schindler’s facility has less than 100 dogs and puppies. His parents were very involved with the Missouri Breeders Association.

Another 2024 CVI was for Up and Away Pups in Sugarcreek, Ohio, the “sister company” of Happytail Puppies, an internet puppy seller in North Carolina, which has been in business since 2005. Up and Away Pups, which also sells puppies online, only obtained a USDA license in 2023 (the pre-license inspection report listed only one dog). The address on the USDA license is for a residence in Summerfield, North Carolina. Happytail Puppies is located ten minutes away in Oak Ridge, North Carolina. Photos for the Oak Ridge property show homes, a number of outbuildings and multiple vehicles.  We question why USDA didn’t require that the Oak Ridge property be listed on the inspection report, and why they didn’t seem to do an inspection at the Oak Ridge location. Sonia Mackovic is the owner of both businesses. Up and Away Pups has an Ohio pet shop license with Sonia Mackovic listed as the contact. The commercially zoned residence in Sugarcreek, which was used for Up and Away Pups, has just been listed for sale.

CAPS Investigations of Puppy Heaven and Urban Puppies/It’s a Dog’s Chance

CAPS has been investigating Puppy Heaven on and off for more than 10 years. Based now solely in Las Vegas, Nevada, the pet shop specializes in teacup and toy breed puppies. Puppy Heaven sells puppies in the store and online. Originally named Star Yorkie, the owners, Ben Eshel and Jenna Lee, ran their pet shop from a residence in Reseda, California. After we provided undercover video to Los Angeles Animal Services, they finally cited Star Yorkie for operating a retail business in a residential zone. Eshel and Lee then divorced.

Puppy Heaven 2015

Puppy Heaven 2016

Ben Eshel and his mother, Michal, who has always been the lead salesperson, opened Puppy Heaven in Agoura Hills, California. When we investigated Puppy Heaven, Michal refused to provide breeder names, as she also did at Star Yorkie. The California pet shop lemon law, in effect prior to The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, required pet shops to provide breeder and broker names, addresses and USDA numbers to prospective customers. They are now violating the Nevada lemon law by refusing to provide breeder and broker information.

Jenna Lee also moved to Agoura Hills, where she raised money online to start a retail adoption center that turned out to be a pet shop. After CAPS investigated Urban Puppies/It’s a Dog’s Chance twice, we provided our evidence to the charitable trusts division of the California Attorney General, which shut her down.

Urban Puppies/It’s a Dog’s Chance 2015

Urban Puppies/It’s a Dog’s Chance 2016


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