On Wednesday a judge found the animals at Pet Depot in Cleburne that had been housed, including puppies, kittens and more than a thousand rats and mice, had been cruelly treated, relinquishing custody to animal services.
WFAA spoke to Cheryl St. Clair with her chihuahua-poodle mix outside the Pet Depot on Thursday. "I had an appointment to have her groomed, and we’ve been coming here for several years," she said. She hadn't yet heard what's been going on at her neighborhood pet store.
"We found some animals with skin conditions, over-crowding in cages," said Animal Services Manager Mindy Henry, who was part of the initial investigation.
Some of the animals are at the Cleburne shelter, but many are with the Humane Society of North Texas in Fort Worth.
Henry said some of the animals they discovered were dead. "We don’t hope to find these conditions by any means, but when we do, I'm going to take care of it pretty fast," Henry said.
WFAA spoke to Pet Depot owner Michael Fowler, who told us he’s currently considering whether he’ll appeal the judge’s decision or not. He has 10 days to make that decision. He said he's been in business for 28 years in Cleburne and pointed out he hasn't had a single citation before.
If Fowler appeals, the animals can't be adopted out until the case is closed. "It could be months, it could be weeks," Henry said.
Both shelters are asking for donations as they take on the added responsibility. Those requests include puppy and kitten food, mouse, rat and gerbil food, shaving for rodent cages and large bird cages-- even if you can just loan those.
As for St. Clair, who was outside the Pet Depot figuring out where else to take her dog, she told us she was shocked and disappointed. "I never noticed anything unusual. My dog was given good care," she said.