BURNSIDE, Ky.—The Humane Society of the United States is assisting the Burnside Police Department in rescuing approximately 150 exotic animals in a large-scale alleged severe neglect situation at a local pet store. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Special Investigation Unit, Somerset-Pulaski County Humane Society, Pulaski County Attorney’s Office and Pulaski County Animal Control also provided assistance on-scene.
Local authorities served a search and seizure warrant at Tim’s Reptiles and Exotics off US-27 at approximately 11 a.m. EDT. Dozens of snakes, lizards, turtles, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and fish were found living in filthy, poor conditions typically seen in severe neglect situations. The pet store operator was arrested by Burnside Police Department on 19 counts of animal cruelty.
The guinea pigs and several turtles were forced to share the same enclosure, which was covered in spider webs. The water in the fish tanks was murky, and most of the animals had no apparent access to food or clean water. Hamsters gnawed frantically on the wire siding of their makeshift enclosure, and some of the rabbits were found in barren cages with nowhere to find relief from the wire flooring.
“It was deeply disturbing to witness the bleak lives of these animals in this shop of horrors,” said Todd Blevins, Kentucky director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are thankful to the Burnside Police Department and all of the organizations involved in getting these animals the care that they desperately need.”
The animals received initial veterinary exams on-scene and were surrendered to Burnside Police Department. They will continue to receive much-needed attention through several organizations prepared to provide specialized care. Liberty Nature Center, Thoroughbred Exotics, Bourbon County Rescue, Paws 4 the Cause, Lexington Humane Society and KY Fish and Tank Rescue are among the groups taking in the animals.
“I was shocked to see animals living in these conditions,” said Chief Mike Hill of Burnside Police Department. “It is a great relief to all of us here that these animals will have an opportunity to be rehabilitated, thanks to the help from the Humane Society of the United States and everyone involved in making this happen today.”
The assistance of the Humane Society of the United States was requested by the Burnside Police Department after concerns about the welfare of animals on the property were raised by Burnside City Code Enforcement.