Protesters gather at Merrick Puppy Store where Lab allegedly neglected


At least 100 gathered in front of the Puppy Store in Merrick on Saturday afternoon to protest alleged animal abuse and neglect, following the March 2 arrest of its owner, Robert Lawrence.

Lawrence, 40, of Woodmere, was charged with overdriving, torturing and injuring animals because he allegedly failed to provide a 6-month-old Labrador retriever with proper veterinary care, according to Miriam Sholder, spokeswoman for the Nassau County district attorney’s office.

Lawrence's attorney, Michael Alber, said last week that his client, who had pleaded not guilty, would be exonerated in court, and would "never hurt an animal, ever."

Still, protesters crowded in front of the Merrick Avenue store starting at noon on Saturday, bearing signs reading, "Zero tolerance for animal abuse," and, "Puppies are not merchandise."

Lawrence is next due in court on March 20.

This story will be updated.