Pet shop owner convicted of animal cruelty convicted of violation
YPSILANTI TWP., MI – A pet shop owner in Ypsilanti Township accused of improperly caring for animals in his store, selling sick and dying animals, has been sentenced to probation.
Stuart William Collins, owner and operator of Pet City Pets, was sentenced Nov. 12 to nine months probation after pleading guilty to one count of misdemeanor violating a pet store, according to records from the court.
Collins, 68, was originally charged with one count of animal cruelty against 4 to 10 animals, according to records.
He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge on September 24, after an agreement was reached that the charge would be dismissed under the prosecutor’s voluntary deferred sentence program as long as he successfully completes his probation.
In addition, he was ordered to pay $ 175 in restitution to the Humane Society of Huron Valley.
“Mr. Collins only admitted to selling a dog without a health certificate signed by a veterinarian,” his lawyer Joe Simon said. “The cruelty charge was dismissed and Mr. Collins was convicted on the charge that ‘he admitted. “
Charges were filed in July, months after animal cruelty investigators from the Humane Society of Huron Valley and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office found two puppies dead in the store on Ecorse Road, seizing five other puppies as well as more than 40 reptiles and dozens of small mammals, according to human society.
Citing a history of complaints received about the pet store, Human Society officials called the plea deal “disappointing,” according to a statement from the Humane Society of Huron Valley.
“There have been many complaints about Pet City Pets over the years,” said Matt Schaecher, COO of the Humane Society of Huron Valley. “We know a lot of people who are disappointed with Mr. Collins’ plea deal. Since then, several customers have come forward regarding sick and dying puppies acquired in this store. Providing the necessary veterinary care for sick puppies shouldn’t be a financial or ethical stretch for a pet store. But, regardless, health checkups and veterinary treatments for sick animals are required by Michigan law. It is not optional.
The seizure was the result of an investigator who obtained a search warrant after receiving anonymous intelligence alleging sick and dying puppies deprived of veterinary care were hidden behind the building, officials said.
Investigators found sick puppies housed in a crowded back room amid rubbish, boxes, expired medicine, Powerade sports drink, a bottle marked “holy water” and building materials, said. officials of HSHV.
A deceased puppy was found lying in an area with urine, feces and blood next to an electric heating pad recording 220 degrees. A second puppy who died was found behind a plank of wood under a counter, HSHV officials said.
“There is currently no regulatory body that oversees pet facilities. We depend on a criminal justice system that takes animal cruelty seriously, ”said HSHV CEO Tanya Hilgendorf. “We investigate complaints, but we don’t decide charges, plea deals or sentencing. “
Investigators also found that at least 415 animals in the store did not have a vet’s health certificate prior to the sale, which is required by law, HSHV officials said.
The February seizure also included reptiles without any evidence of veterinary care, found dehydrated with open wounds and mouth sores, and one starved to death, as determined by an autopsy by Michigan State University.
Rats and mice for sale under crowded conditions mixed with dead animals were also captured. The store has also been cited for other violations of Michigan law in pet stores, such as lack of basic sanitation, insufficient staff to care for animals, and the presence of contaminants, including the storage of rat poison on dog food, HSHV officials said.
HSHV officials noted that all of the animals seized in February are doing well now after receiving medical attention and many have been adopted.
“Pet adoption is at an all time high right now, and luckily most people know the value of ‘adoption, not purchase,’” said Hilgendorf.
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