Riverhead town police have confirmed that Scott Kaphan, owner of the Puppy Experience in Aquebogue, was found dead in a Riverhead motel room Saturday.
Chief David Hegermiller confirmed the death. Riverhead police said they received a 911 call on Saturday at 11:09 a.m. from the Swiss Motel on West Main Street in Riverhead, stating that Kaphan, 42, of Hampton Bays, was unresponsive. Resuscitation efforts were not warranted, police said; the cause of death is unknown at this time.
The Riverhead police detective division and the Suffolk County medical examiner's office responded to the scene. Kaphan's death, police said, does not appear to be suspicious in nature. An investigation is ongoing.
The Puppy Experience has been the center of controversy in recent years, with puppy mill protestors demonstrating outside.
Kaphan had threatened legal action against the Companion Animal Protection Society, stating that he believed the organization was targeting his business and should instead be focusing on puppy mills.
He said that he was a man of faith who worked hard at his business and said he set up an adoption component to the shop.
The protestors said they demonstrated weekly to raise awareness about pet shops and puppy mills.
Editor's Note: This story was changed from its original version to reflect the fact that although a lawsuit was threatened, no legal action was ever commenced by Kaphan against CAPS.