Pet shop

pet store owner pleads not guilty | Local News

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The owner of a local pet store that was raided last week has pleaded not guilty to several animal cruelty charges.

Timothy Charles Lorraine, 61, of Whitley City, was arraigned in Pulaski District Court on Friday – pleading not guilty to 19 counts of second degree animal cruelty.

The charges stem from an April investigation into Lorraine’s pet store, Tim’s Reptiles and Exotics. The store is located off South US 27 at the Tri County Flea Market in Burnside.

According to the warrant issued to Lorraine by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife last Wednesday, the animals inside the store were subjected to “cruel and abusive treatment for failure to provide sufficient food, drink, space. [and] health care.”

During the execution of the search and seizure warrant on September 1, Burnside Police conducted the investigation with the assistance of Pulaski County Animal Control, Kentucky Department Special Investigation Unit. of Fish and Wildlife, Pulaski County Attorney’s Office, and Somerset-Pulaski County Humane Society.

Due to the scale of the operation, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) – based in Washington, DC – was also enlisted by BPD to help rescue some 150 exotic animals that were in the store during its closure. Of that number, Burnside Police Chief Mike Hill estimated there were 80 animals – like snakes, lizards, turtles, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils – to deal with, the rest being fish.

HSUS officials said in a press release that the guinea pigs and several turtles were forced to share the same enclosure, which was covered in cobwebs. The water in the aquariums was cloudy and most animals apparently had no access to food or drinking water. Hamsters were frantically gnawing at the wire mesh of their makeshift enclosure, and some rabbits were found in sterile cages with nowhere to find relief from the wire mesh floors.

Chief Hill said that while he hadn’t investigated many similar cases before, he had heard several HSUS volunteers say the store was one of the worst shopping environments they had seen. The physical conditions of rabbits and guinea pigs raised particular concerns.

The animals underwent initial veterinary examinations on site and were turned over to the Burnside Police Department before being placed in several organizations ready to provide specialist care. According to HSUS, these organizations include Liberty Nature Center, Thoroughbred Exotics, Bourbon County Rescue, Paws 4 the Cause, Lexington Humane Society, Wildlife Matters Rehabilitation Haven, and KY Fish and Tank Rescue.

BPD chief Hill told the Commonwealth Journal authorities were at the scene for more than seven hours on September 1.

“We have had several, several complaints from citizens brought to our attention about this facility and the condition of the animals,” Chief Hill said, noting that the city’s code enforcement officer had initiated an investigation. reduction proceedings against Tim’s Reptiles and had shared photos he’d taken with the police department. At that point, the chief decided to proceed with a criminal investigation.

Pulaski County Executive Judge Steve Kelley said last week his office had also received complaints.

“We’ve had a lot of complaints over the past few years about this store, so I’m happy to see it finally come to an end,” said Judge Kelley. “It’s unfortunate to see someone treating animals this way. I’m grateful to Chief Hill, Fish and Wildlife’s [Sergeant] Travis Neal, the National Humane Society, our County Attorney Martin Hatfield and his staff, and [Animal Control’s] Adam Scales and his team. Without their collaborative efforts, we could not have accomplished this today. “

Second degree animal cruelty is a Class A misdemeanor in Kentucky – punishable by 90 days to 12 months in prison plus a fine of up to $ 500.

Lorraine was released on $ 2,500 cash / property bond. He is scheduled to appear for a pre-hearing conference in Pulaski District Court on September 15.

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