Pet Shop Owner Found Dead In Riverhead Motel Room

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Scott Kaphan, 42, a Hampton Bays resident and owner of a controversial pet shop in Aquebogue, was found dead in a Riverhead motel room on Saturday morning.

After receiving a 911 call on July 20 at 11:09 a.m., the Riverhead Police Department found Mr. Kaphan unresponsive in room 14 of the Swiss Motel on West Main Street, and deemed resuscitation efforts to be “unwarranted,” according to the police report.

While the cause of death is officially listed as unknown, an autopsy will be performed. Police said Mr. Kaphan’s death “does not appear to be suspicious,” but that the investigation is ongoing.

The Puppy Experience, which used to have a second shop in Hampton Bays, has been a common target for protesters unhappy with the living conditions for animals at the pet stores, who also accuse the owners of buying from puppy mills.

According to media reports at the time, Mr. Kaphan brought an unresolved lawsuit against Athens Companion Animal Protection Society, which held the protests outside his stores.

An employee at The Puppy Experience said Mr. Kaphan is survived by a wife and two children. He asked for privacy and sensitivity for the family, while saying, “We are all devastated. The store will be just fine and continue on, but we’re devastated.”

A Swiss Motel employee declined to comment.

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