Over 100 animals seized from local pet store

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN-TV)
UPDATE 8-23: The owner of the Pitter Patter Pet store is under investigation by Animal Services and Enforcement regarding this event. .

The cages, tanks, and pens of a locally owned pet store are empty after animal service officers seized the creatures from what they are calling an uninhabitable situation.

"A lot of times in this profession, when you've done it for so long, you can distinguish the difference between smells and this one was pretty bad. We knew that we were walking into something pretty big," says Kelsey Harty Animal Services and Enforcement Officer.

On Thursday, August 16th Animal Services and Enforcement officers executed a search and seizure warrant on a local pet store.

"We got called out to do a welfare check on the property after one of our officers had gone out there and just got a brief look at the living conditions and we decided that it was probably a good idea for the safety and welfare of the animals to apply for a search warrant it was approved by a judge and then the next day we executed a search warrant first thing in the morning, " says Harty.

All of the animals removed from the store are in protective custody at the humane society and they say it was a high volume seizure.

"So I can't give specifics on each animal but I can tell you we have over 100 animals right now that were specifically taken from that place, " says Harty.

Animals ranging from dogs, cats, reptiles, a tarantula, several hamsters, and even a few ferrets were involved in the seizure.

Harty says, "We saw articles, different types of building supplies that aren't necessarily safe around animals especially animals that are unattended. The smell was a big thing. One of our officers was wearing a hazmat mask and we kind of had to exit the building a few times just to catch our breath and be able to breathe. It burns the lungs."

The shelter is seeking donations of small creature bedding, heat lamps, chinchilla and hamster food, plus their everyday items. They say the best possible outcome is permanent custody of the animals.

"Now we are pending a court case. We've got a couple of weeks yet before we do the initial appearance in court but until then the animals will just continue to receive care and then if anything comes we'll get a veterinarian here immediately," says Harty.