published Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Animals housed, awaiting vet inspection

Audio clip

Karen Walsh

Eighty-two animals removed Tuesday from a local pet store were cooling in the 72 degrees of McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center on Wednesday.

"They're all going to go through the process of our vet checking them," said McKamey Executive Director Karen Walsh.

  • photo
    Staff photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center employees unload animals taken from The Pet Company at Hamilton Place mall on Tuesday.

The animals, a mixture of dogs, rabbits, a ferret and "pocket pets" such as hamsters and mice, were removed from The Pet Company at Hamilton Place mall Tuesday after state officials and center employees issued 40 citations over the health and safety of the animals.

The most severe problem noted was no air conditioning for more than three weeks.

Ms. Walsh and a Tennessee Department of Agriculture inspector went to The Pet Company at 7 a.m. Tuesday and started removing animals, but they were called to court Tuesday afternoon after attorney Andrew Pippenger, representing the pet store's parent company, filed an injunction to stop the removal. The request was denied, and McKamey employees returned to the store and worked until 10 p.m. to remove the animals and place them at McKamey, Ms. Walsh said.

Neither Mr. Pippenger nor United Pet Supply, the New Jersey-based company that owns the pet store, could be reached for comment Wednesday.

ANIMALS REMOVED

* 32 dogs

* 6 rabbits

* 1 ferret

* 1 guinea pig

* 42 pocket pets -- hamsters, mice

Source: McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center

Local residents began a petition to close the store shortly after its 2004 opening and have gathered more than 4,200 signatures in support.

Ms. Walsh said McKamey has received complaints since December, and her staff members have visited the store seven times in six months.

Hamilton Place spokeswoman Catharine Wells said mall managers were "unaware of the recent conditions inside the store and are working closely with local authorities and The Pet Company to resolve the situation."

Citing tenant confidentiality agreements, Ms. Wells said she could not answer whether there had been previous complaints made to the mall about the store's conditions.

A judge in Chattanooga City Court will hear the case on June 24 at 9 a.m. At that time, McKamey will seek custody of the animals, Ms. Walsh said, and, if granted, they will be adopted out to qualified applicants.

"We've actually had a tremendous response of people who want to give these animals homes," she said.

Continue reading by following this link to a related story:

Article: Pet store animals taken to McKamey after months of complaints

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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Soos54 said...

Way to go McKamey! First off, people shouldn't be buying pets from the Pet Company - or any mall pet store - in the first place! Everyone knows those puppies come from puppy mills. So basically these animals went from awful conditions at a puppy mill to awful conditions at the Pet Company. It's just sick what some people will do for a buck! Animals aren't "stuff" - they are alive and need to be cared for. Come on people, enough is enough. I'm no PETA person or animal activist but stuff like this just makes me sick.

June 17, 2010 at 9:34 a.m.
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