36 dead animals found during search of yet-to-open pet store
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Animal control officers acting on an anonymous complaint found 36 dead animals and squalid conditions at a Rapid City pet store that hadn’t yet opened for business, authorities said.
Rapid City police investigated Pitter Patter Pet Store on Aug. 16 and seized 90 living animals, including dogs, cats, fish, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, spiders and a chinchilla, The Rapid City Journal reported .
The owner, who was present during the investigation, could face charges that carry potential fines and jail time. Charges could include multiple counts of inhumane treatment, violating city ordinance on care and treatment of animals and violating city ordinance on maintaining places where animals are kept, said Darrell Shoemaker, a city spokesman.
Kelsey Harty, an officer with Animal Services and Enforcement, said investigators had to wear masks because of the smell.
“There was material laying around that was not safe for the animals,” she said. “The cages were extremely dirty. Lots of feces and urine and many of the animals did not have food or water. The smell was the pretty big thing.”
The pet store had not yet taken the steps needed to open as a business, Shoemaker said.
“The city had not been approached for any licensing or other opportunity of a kennel or pet store or anything,” he said.
The animals that were seized are being cared for at either Reptile Gardens or the Humane Society of the Black Hills.
“None of the animals have died in our care,” Harty said.
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com