Texas

More than 1,000 ‘neglected, cruelly treated’ pets seized from North Texas store

Rodents at the Pet Depot in Cleburne were kept in overcrowded housing and were malnourished, the Humane Society of North Texas said.
Rodents at the Pet Depot in Cleburne were kept in overcrowded housing and were malnourished, the Humane Society of North Texas said.

More than 1,000 animals have been seized from the Pet Depot in Cleburne by Cleburne Animal Services and members of the Humane Society of North Texas in Fort Worth.

Many of the animals — including puppies, kittens, rodents and birds — were diseased, cruelly treated, neglected and/or malnourished, the humane society said.

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Photo: HSNT

The seizure came after an anonymous complaint was filed with Cleburne Animal Services, which prompted a welfare check of the pets.

In total, 1,046 animals were removed from the store, the humane society said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether this was the entire stock of the store.

The human society said the puppies have bald spots from flea infestations and the kittens have severe ear mite infestations. The rodents were not given adequate food, water or housing and have “numerous health issues.” The birds are also in poor health.

The puppies and kittens are in the care of Cleburne Animal Services while the remaining pets are in the humane society’s custody.

Animal Services Manager Mindy Henry did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but she told Star-Telegram media partner WFAA that some of the animals discovered in the store were dead.

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Photo: HSNT

The media outlet identified Michael Fowler as the owner of Pet Depot. He said he’s considering appealing a judge’s ruling that the animals were cruelly treated, saying he’s never been cited before in his 28 years in business.

If he does appeal, Henry said the animals cannot be adopted out 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 offense, according to the city code of ordinances.

Cassie Lackey of the Humane Society of North Texas talks about a partnership with the city of Fort Worth that aims to find homes for at least 500 animals.

Stephen English covers breaking news for the Star-Telegram. He attended Texas Wesleyan University and has lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for more than 30 years.


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