The owner of a local pet store whose criminal case is at the heart of Saturday’s animal rescue stories is still fighting his charges in court.
Timothy Charles Lorraine, 61, of Whitley City, is next due in Pulaski District Court for a pre-trial conference on January 19.
Lorraine last summer pleaded not guilty to 19 counts of second degree animal cruelty after authorities closed her store in Burnside.
The charges stem from an April investigation into Tim’s Reptiles and Exotics. The store was located off the southern US 27 at the old Tri County Flea Market. According to the warrant served on Lorraine by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, 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 investigated with the assistance of Pulaski County Animal Control, Kentucky Department Special Investigative 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.
Chief Hill told the Commonwealth Journal authorities had been there for more than seven hours.
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. The hamsters frantically gnawed at the metal siding of their makeshift pen, and some rabbits were found in sterile cages with nowhere to find relief thanks to the wire floors.
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.
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 after her arrest on a $ 2,500 cash / property bond.