Authorities are calling an exotic pet store a “house of horrors” after finding more than 150 neglected animals. Southern Kentucky police seized the animals after a raid on Tim’s Reptiles and Exotics Wednesday morning.
Inside, authorities found dozens of lizards, snakes, hamsters, gerbils, fish, rabbits and turtles living in cruel conditions.
“It was deeply disturbing to witness the dark lives of these animals in this store of horrors,” Todd Blevins, Kentucky director for the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement.
The raid follows a full-scale investigation launched after concerns were raised by Burnside City Code Enforcement. Burnside Police arrived at the pet store around 11 a.m. on Wednesday and served operator Tim Lorraine, 61, with a search and seizure warrant, authorities said. Due to the scale of the operation, the police also sought help from the Humane Society of the United States.
After an investigation by the Burnside Police Department, the pet store was closed and Lorraine was arrested on 19 counts of animal cruelty, according to a statement released by police. His charges include second degree cruelty to animals. In Kentucky, those convicted of the offense of animal cruelty can face up to 12 months in prison and pay up to $ 500 in fines.
Inside the pet store, authorities and the humanitarian society discovered extreme cases of animal cruelty and neglect, including murky aquariums, guinea pigs and turtles sharing an enclosure, and the animals were only allowed little or no access to clean water or food.
Animal enclosures were covered in spider webs, and hungry hamsters gnawed at their wire enclosures as little turtles rested in algae infested water.
“I was shocked to see animals living in these conditions,” Burnside Police Department Chief Mike Hill said in a statement. “It is a great relief to all of us here that these animals have the opportunity to be rehabilitated, with the help of the Humane Society of the United States and everyone involved in making this happen today. “
The animals were all turned over to the Burnside Police Department and underwent veterinary exams on site. Several animal welfare organizations take steps to ensure animals receive the necessary treatment.
“Overall, the animals adapt very well to their clean and comfortable living conditions,” said Kirsten Peek, media relations manager for the Humane Society. News week. “They perked up because they were given much needed care, proper food and clean water. I’ve been told that mice, in particular, have amazing personalities that are starting to emerge.”
Lorraine is being held on $ 5,000 bond in the county detention center. His arraignment is scheduled for Friday morning in Pulaski District Court.
News week contacted the Burnside Police Department and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, but did not receive a response in time for the post.
Correction 9/3/2021, 2:56 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of the name Tim Lorraine.