An animal rescue at a Bellevue PetSmart led to three people being cited with animal cruelty and left the city to foot the bill of nursing the animals back to health.
The animals were in such bad shape when they were confiscated by Metro Animal Control they needed operations, treatments for viruses and continuing medical care.
According to assistant district attorney Katie Ladefoged, as much as $25,000 has been spent on four mice and two guinea pigs that are evidence in the case against three PetSmart employees accused of animal abuse.
The raid on the pet store was prompted by a PETA investigation that showed some of the animals with open wounds and in bad shape.
“It wasn't like they just had matted fur, or small injuries.” Said Ladefoged. “It is was of the significance that they must've been in a lot of pain. It was pretty severe."
Ladefoged said the city plans to take the case all the way to be an example for other pet shops who shirk their responsibilities.
"Cases like these where the most vulnerable of creatures, an animal that can't really look out for itself, that have been abused really need to be prosecuted fully,” said Ladefoged.
According to the ADA, the animals could be fostered out of the city’s care but PetSmart has to relinquish control of them first.
PetSmart released the following statement:
“PetSmart has contacted the DA on four separate occasions, dating back to April 11, in which we expressed a desire to retain ownership of the pets, have the pets examined by an independent veterinarian and offered to pay all of the vet bills while the pets were in the care of the DA’s office. Despite our efforts, we received no response. Our offer still stands. Given the continued lack of response from the DA’s office, PetSmart cannot verify the accuracy of the claims regarding the condition of the animals or the vets bills incurred."