500 abandoned animals rescued from West Edmonton Mall pet store
More than 500 animals, including small mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and spiders, have been seized from a pet store in one of the Edmonton Humane Society’s largest seizures to date.
A member of the public alerted society staff earlier this week that animals may have been abandoned at the My Pet store in West Edmonton Mall.
Peace officer Danika Bodnarchuk, the society’s supervisor of animal protection services, said Wednesday the concern was deemed justified and the seizure began. It did not involve any cats or dogs.
Early Tuesday, 10 humane society staff members - including a specialist vet - went to the store and began shuttling the animals to the society’s shelter in north Edmonton, where another 20 staff were waiting to sign the animals into care, Bodnarchuk said.
The pet store is no longer open.
Bodnarchuk, who wouldn’t speak to the animals’ condition, said they will be held 10 days, after which the society will determine what happens to them.
An abandoned animal under the Animal Protections Act is defined as one that is left for more than 24 hours without adequate food, water or shelter; is left for five or more days after the expected retrieval time when an animal is being boarded; or is found on premises where a tenancy agreement has been terminated.
“It’s definitely difficult to see, but I’m lucky that I get to be the one who removes them and brings them somewhere where they will be receiving proper care, and I have a lot of faith in the shelter and the staff,” she said.
No charges have been laid, but Bodnarchuk said it was still early in the investigation.
Investigators routinely inspect all pet stores in Edmonton every month to make sure that all basic needs are met and animal protection act regulations are followed, Bodnarchuk said.
The store had been inspected a month prior and no issues were found.
The maximum fine under the Animal Protection Act is $20,000.
Due to the ongoing investigation, no more details were being released.
The society is in urgent need of monetary donations to cover the cost of the specialized care and supplies that the animals require.
Credit: JURIS GRANEY