More than 1,000 animals were seized from Cleburne Pet Depot by Cleburne Animal Services and members of the Humane Society of North Texas in Fort Worth.
Many animals – including puppies, kittens, rodents and birds – were sick, cruelly treated, neglected and/or malnourished, the Humane Society said.
The seizure came after an anonymous complaint was made to Cleburne Animal Services, which prompted a pet welfare check.
A total of 1,046 animals were removed from the store, the Humane Society said. It was not immediately clear if this was the store’s entire stock.
The humane society said the puppies had bald spots due to flea infestations and the kittens had severe mite infestations. The rodents have not been provided with adequate food, water or housing and have “numerous health issues”. The birds are also in poor health.
Puppies and kittens are in the care of Cleburne Animal Services while other pets are in the care of The Humane Society.
Animal services manager Mindy Henry did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told Star-Telegram media partner WFAA that some of the animals found at the store had died.
The outlet identified Michael Fowler as the owner of Pet Depot. He said he was considering appealing a judge’s ruling that the animals had been cruelly treated, saying he had never been cited before in his 28 years on the job.
If he appeals, Henry said the animals cannot be adopted until the case is closed, which could take months.
Cleburne law enforcement officials did not immediately respond to questions about whether Fowler could face criminal charges. Animal cruelty is a misdemeanor, according to the city’s code of ordinances.
This story was originally published December 7, 2018 12:29 p.m.