Archive for Friday, September 7, 2007

Hays pet store called ‘terrible’; animals brought to Lawrence

Effort under way to find new homes

September 7, 2007


Marty Birrell with Prairie Park Nature Center

Marty Birrell talks about some of the animals brought to Prairie Park Nature Center from a pet store in Hays that was closed down.

Neglected animals moved from Hays to Lawrence

Malnourished, neglected, and ill - words state officials use to describe more than 250 animals relinquished from a pet store in Hays. Enlarge video

The little brown-and-white Rex rabbit in Marty Birrell's hands had lost 40 percent of its body weight. The outline of its backbone was evident through its fur.

"He ate so much last night, but he's sick. I'm not sure he'll live," said Birrell, director of Prairie Park Nature Center, 2730 Harper St.

More than 200 animals rescued from a shuttered pet store in Hays were brought to Lawrence on Wednesday night. Most were reptiles, amphibians, rodents and birds. Ferrets and most of the birds, such as cockatiels, parakeets and finches, were kept at the Lawrence Humane Society, 1805 E. 19th St. Snakes, lizards, tarantulas and rodents were sent to the nature center.

"We don't have the facilities to house reptiles," said Jeaneen Hercha, Humane Society operations manager.

The animals were dehydrated and malnourished when they arrived in Lawrence. Overnight, a crab and a gecko died at the nature center, Birrell said.

The Kansas Animal Health Department removed the animals from Critter Connection in Hays, where inspectors found numerous dead animals, said Debra Duncan, director of the state department's animal facility inspection division.

"The condition was terrible; sanitation was horrible," she said.

Owner Diane Brown agreed to give up the animals and to not operate a store that requires a state license for five years. Brown will be fined $25,000 if she violates the agreement, Duncan said. It is up to prosecutors in Hays whether to file criminal charges, she said.

The state called Midge Grinstead, Lawrence Humane Society director, for help in housing animals that were still alive.

"Midge never tells us 'no,'" Duncan said.

Animals at the humane society will be put up for adoption, Hercha said. Animals at the nature center will find homes at schools, universities, other nature centers or with teachers, Birrell said.

New homes for some reptiles, particularly for some of the pythons, and tarantulas must be carefully selected, Birrell said.

"Some of the tarantulas pack quite a bite," she said.


Katie Van Blaricum 10 years, 4 months ago

In all seriousness, this is horrible. Where might I go if I were interested in adopting a crab or reptile?

geekin_topekan 10 years, 4 months ago

Giving a Tarantula a clean bill of health?Must be one for the experts.

May the crab RIP.Tortured in life.He has entered a realm of bliss.His passing,although tragic,may have actually cleared a path for future CrestaeceoAmericans.We can learn from this and see the warning signs next time.Perhaps God sent this Angel to us as a teacher.We can only hold this idea close to our hearts as we mourn for the poor crab.That is the only thng that would make sense where there seems to be none.His brief and painful life on Earth has been replaced by Peace,Perfection and Happiness that we,on Earth,can only dream of for now.But let us breath a sigh of relief as we go about our day knowing that he is at Peace and looking down on us with gratitude and an expectation.He does not want us to mourn but to smile and grace ourselves and understand the messege of this tragedy.That was his mission on Earth.He has completed his purpose and gone home.RIP little crab.We know you are out of danger and among glorious family now.We will heed your messege on Earth and strive to be better people as tribute to your sacrifice.Amen.

Soapdish 10 years, 4 months ago

This is very sad to see. Might be a good time to make some donations to the Humane Society for helping out with this.

snazzo 10 years, 4 months ago

I would assume the reptiles might be at the Prairie Park Nature Center, since the Lawrence Humane Center said they had no resources for housing them. I would think the Nature Center might have more experience with those kinds of things. I'm sure the Humane Shelter would have all the info. But yeah, that is terrible. Makes me sick.

Centrist 10 years, 4 months ago

Geekin .... it's people with your dismissive attitude that cause animals to be hurt in the first place. Nice try, though - almost funny.

toefungus 10 years, 4 months ago

I am glad Lawrence can help, but can Hays reimburse our costs?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years, 4 months ago

Too many think pets stores are "easy money" and they open them without a sense of what it means to be humane. I'm guessing the store owner was in over her head and didn't know what to do. She should have been an adult about it and shut down the store before things got so bad. It's the same mentality of the puppy mill owner: "this will be so easy, I'll just sit back and watch the money roll in".

Julie Jacob 10 years, 4 months ago

The shelter could probably use some additional cash or supplies with this new influx of animals to care for. As with most non profit agencies at this time of year, they are probably running out of money. If everyone would drop off $5 i am sure that would help.

Tychoman 10 years, 4 months ago

File criminal charges against the woman and make her reimburse the city of either Hays or Lawrence for the costs of rehabilitating these animals. If this story weren't heartbreaking enough, it will be even more to hear about how many animals are either adoption-denied or too sick to live.

Confrontation 10 years, 4 months ago

Glad to see our tax dollars (city $$) is going to save kitties, puppies, and crabs, rather than the children most in need.

Confrontation 10 years, 4 months ago

I never said I hated kids other than yours, Mr_Ramirez.

unclenate 10 years, 4 months ago

While I feel for the abused animals, it dismays me more that the good people of Lawrence seem to show no interest in Ms. Brown herself. A pet store owner surely does not run a store this way without suffering some kind of financial hardship, mental illness, or extenuating circumstances. The Journal World's failure to report anything about the woman herself shows just how inhumane its attitude has become to humans themselves.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.