Monday, September 21, 2009

Local pet store raided, animals seized

Susan Wagoner

Pryor Police Department executed a search warrant on The Fishery pet store in Pryor on Friday, Sept. 4, around 5:30 p.m.

According to the affidavit for the warrant, Animal Control Officer Carolyn Erwin received several complaints in late August “in regard to the poor living conditions of the animals” in the store. After further investigation, a warrant was obtained.

The store is under the voluntary supervision of William Wendt, who has been in the pet store business for nearly 30 years. The store is owned by his fiancee, Kathy Laughlin, but she has full-time employment elsewhere.

“In all my years of the business, I’ve never had any problems or accusations about the way I take care of my animals,” Wendt said, following the search.

Law enforcement was on the scene as well as the local game warden. Fire trucks, the Fire Marshal, and Building Inspector were also in attendance.

Pryor Detective Sgt. Steve Lemmings said Locust Grove veterinarian Carolynne Cash was there at his request, to determine the overall health of the animals on site.

“She said the reptiles were dehydrated, the cages were filthy, the tanks were of inadequate size and there was no apparent protein,” Lemmings said, reading from her report. “She referred to one of the lizards as a dried up apple with legs.”

Wendt said he was totally shocked by the raid. Employee Shelby Coe spoke out in support of Wendt..." More