Exotic animal shop shut down; owners charged with animal cruelty
Co-owners of an exotic animal shop in Huntington are facing animal cruelty charges, and their store has been shut down, animal control officers say.
They say problems at S&S Reptiles and Exotics along 3rd Avenue go back months.
Humane officers say customers and people in the area made complaints of a bad smell. They say they talked with the owners, and for a while conditions got better -- before getting worse.
Animal control says none of the animals has been removed from the store yet because they aren't equipped to handle the venomous snakes safely.
The two co-owners are due in court Tuesday. Humane officers say after that, rescue workers in Kentucky will likely come help remove the exotic animals.
Devout bird lover James Laney would stop by the store occasionally during his lunch break.
"You could smell it," Laney said. "It wasn't like a regular pet store."
Laney says it was disheartening to see conditions of animal cages inside.
"The cages need pressure washed," he said. "They were just nasty."
Another customer who didn't want to be identified says she bought an exotic spider there, which died less than two weeks later. She believes she wasn't given proper instructions from the store on how to take care of it.
She also said the animal cages inside were clearly not cleaned properly.
"I have come to know some of the people in there," she said. "They're not bad people. I just don't think they know what they're doing. I'm also very happy the animals are not going to be suffering any more."
Exotic animals, including some types of venomous snakes, will be seized from a pet shop in downtown Huntington, animal control officers said Thursday.
Humane officers tell us it is happening at S&S Reptiles, located near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 7th Street. They say the problems go back months when they had complaints of a foul odor.
Animal control officers say conditions got better before eventually worsening again.
Investigators say the animals will be seized onsite due to cage conditions and the overall condition of the animals. They say the shop is being closed.
Contrary to earlier reports, animal control officers say none of the animals have been removed from the store yet because there are a couple venomous snakes, and they aren't equipped to remove them safely. They say an animal rescue group from Kentucky will help with that effort.
Two owners of the shop have a pending court date at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 in Huntington Municipal Court.
We are working to get more details. Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.