Pet shop

The “House of Horrors” pet store contained 150 neglected animals, authorities say

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.

Kentucky authorities seized more than 150 neglected animals from Tim’s Reptiles and Exotics on Wednesday morning. Animals are currently receiving specialist care through various animal welfare organizations.
Meredith Lee / The HSUS

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. “

Hamster gnawing the metal cage
Hungry hamsters inside the exotic pet store were found chewing on their makeshift metal enclosures without access to fresh food or water. The operator of Tim’s Reptiles and Exotics is being held on a cash bond of $ 5,000.
Meredith Lee / The HSUS

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.

Guinea pig and turtle in the enclosure
Authorities and members of the Humane Society have found turtles living in the same enclosures as guinea pigs. Humane Society officials said the rescued animals “are settling very well in their clean and comfortable living conditions.”
Meredith Lee / The HSUS

Correction 9/3/2021, 2:56 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of the name Tim Lorraine.