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bcr229 11-12-2019 08:55 AM

Exotic pet store accused of animal cruelty
 
https://www.herald-dispatch.com/_rec...e2e57fe97.html

Exotic pet store accused of animal cruelty

November 7, 2019

HUNTINGTON, WV — An exotic pet shop in Huntington is now closed after humane officers with the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter seized control of multiple animals Thursday due to conditions at the store.

S&S Reptiles and Exotics, located in the 700 block of 3rd Avenue in downtown Huntington, is charged with animal cruelty, said Jon Rutherford, animal control officer.

Rutherford said animal cages were not being kept up.

“It’s been an ongoing problem,” he said. “Images and everything had been brought to our attention. It was pretty bad looking. The smell is very foul. You can smell it from the parking garage. We had received a lot of complaints about that.”

Because the store houses some dangerous animals, particularly venomous snakes, the animals are being kept at the store. Animal control is the only entity to have access to the store at this time, Rutherford said.

S&S Reptiles and Exotics opened in June. Jason Sias, Evan Adkins and Kevin Smith were the owners and managers of the business.

The store sold exotic birds, tarantula spiders, scorpions, other invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles, including snakes, frogs, turtles, alligators and caimans.

The store owners have a court date Tuesday, Nov. 12, in Huntington Municipal Court. Rutherford said more information will be released then.

In West Virginia, animal cruelty is a misdemeanor charge unless the severity of the crime rises to torture, which is intentionally taking action to inflict pain.

Herpin Man 11-13-2019 12:15 PM

While I have been in many pet stores that have truly kept their herps in terrible conditions, I'm in no hurry to judge this one without more facts or photos. I have little faith in law enforcement, humane societies, or the general public's ability to discern between accepted and reasonable methods of housing and keeping these animals, and what is actually and legitimately "cruel".

bcr229 11-18-2019 12:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Herpin Man (Post 2176205)
While I have been in many pet stores that have truly kept their herps in terrible conditions, I'm in no hurry to judge this one without more facts or photos. I have little faith in law enforcement, humane societies, or the general public's ability to discern between accepted and reasonable methods of housing and keeping these animals, and what is actually and legitimately "cruel".

Oh I'll be the first to agree that animal control, especially in WV, can adequately deal with "cute and furry" critters or livestock, but they are woefully unprepared to identify and deal with abuse/neglect/etc. cases for exotic species and in many cases they fail to act because they don't know about husbandry for exotic species, or they don't want to spend the resources for proper enclosures + rehabbing + rehoming, so any exotic taken in gets immediately euthanized.

To be fair, I've heard through the grapevine that this was a good bust and AC will do its best to place everything appropriately, including the venomous snakes and some critters that are not legal to own under our state's DWA, once the judge signs the appropriate orders.

Finally, if you're going to run a business, especially in an industry that's under fire politically like dealing in exotic animals or firearms, you do it on the up-and-up, get all your permits, pay your taxes, and don't lie on your permit applications (see next story).

https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news...aac8dc05e.html

Exotic pet shop must vacate city business license

By TAYLOR STUCK The Herald-Dispatch tstuck@hdmediallc.com

Nov 12, 2019

HUNTINGTON — After opening just six months ago, an exotic pet shop in downtown Huntington has had its business license rescinded following allegations of animal cruelty.

The city of Huntington Department of Administration and Finance issued a cease-and-desist order for S&S Reptiles and Exotics, located in the 700 block of 3rd Avenue, to vacate its business license, said Bryan Chambers, director of communications for the city.

According to the city, the exotic pet shop did not have a state business license and did not have the proper state permit to sell the animals and reptiles it sold.

The shop also did not fully disclose to the city all of the animals it would be selling when it filed for a business license in Huntington.

The city also alleges the shop did not properly pay the city service fee, paying it for only one employee when there were at least six.

The shop, co-owned by Jason Sias, Evan Adkins and Kevin Smith, is also facing animal cruelty charges after several complaints sent animal control officers to the shop last week. A Tuesday hearing in Huntington Municipal Court was postponed until 9 a.m. next Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Jon Rutherford, animal control officer with the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter, said last week animal cages were not being kept up, creating a foul smell that permeated the 7th Street parking garage.

Rutherford said Tuesday photographs of dead animals in the shop had been sent to the shelter.

Municipal Court Judge Cheryl Henderson ordered the shop owners to care for the animals through Tuesday because the shelter does not have the capability to care for some of the dangerous animals the shop had for sale, including a cobra and a rattlesnake.


“They legally possess them,” Rutherford said, “but I feel it is a danger to everyone’s health and well-being considering there is no antivenom for hours away.”

Rutherford said come Tuesday, he hopes to gain custody of the animals so the proper authorities can come in and care for them.

“We have to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice,” he said. “That’s what we hope to do.”

Huntington Municipal Code states animal cruelty includes intentionally, knowingly or recklessly mistreating an animal and withholding proper sustenance, including food and water, among other things. If found guilty, people must relinquish the animal to the shelter and, along with any fine, be responsible for any cost to the shelter.


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