Two members of the Somerset-Pulaski County Humane Society were honored on Tuesday for their role in shutting down a Burnside pet store that saw animals live in horrific conditions.
Board member and volunteer Heather Stevenson, as well as volunteer Marguerite Arnold, received the 2021 Humane Advocate Awards from Todd Blevins, Kentucky State Director for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
Blevins said the only reason the raid on the pet store happened “was due to the diligence of two very special ladies.”
Blevins recalled that the national organization got involved when he came to a local board meeting last year in Pulaski. At the end of this meeting, Arnold handed over a packet of information to Blevins.
“She said, ‘It’s just something you might want to take a look at,” he said.
In this package were photos and documentation of the conditions in the animal facility. This began the process of working with local law enforcement and other officials to ultimately shut down the store.
This raid took place in September, at a place called Tim’s Reptiles and Exotics located in the south of US 27, across from the old Tri County flea market.
Shop owner Timothy Charles Lorraine has been charged with 19 counts of second degree animal cruelty. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges.
Stevenson said the only reason the local group was able to move forward was for help and support from HSUS.
Arnold and Stevenson thanked Blevins for his help, as well as Burnside Police Chief Mike Hill and Marc Travis, the Enforcement Officer for Somerset.
At the time of the raid, Chief Hill estimated that the store had around 150 animals, ranging from snakes to rabbits to fish.
It was thanks to the HSUS links that the local Humane Society was able to place so many animals in foster families and rescue groups, Stevenson said.
“When the judge [Steve] Kelley stopped right after the raid and asked how many animals were we going to have to house, we were able to respond, “not one,” Stevenson said.
She also recognized local Humane Society volunteer Lisa Schultz for helping place some of the fish and other animals.
Or, as Arnold said, “Lisa found us rats and fish.”
Arnold added that all the animals are now well taken care of. “They are all healthier and leading good lives. “