The Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) seized a number of animals from a West Edmonton Mall pet store earlier this week after a concern was raised that the animals had been abandoned.
The humane society’s animal protection department seized more than 500 small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish from My Pet on Tuesday.
“It’s the second-largest seizure that I’m aware of that we’ve done,” peace officer Danika Bodnarchuk said, adding she couldn’t speak to the condition of the animals.
A nearby tenant said the pet store did not open on Monday morning. The tenant told Global News the owner of the pet store indicated they were having trouble negotiating the store’s lease with the mall.
“West Edmonton Mall, along with the owner of My Pet, worked together to facilitate the handover of animals to the Edmonton Humane Society within hours of the permanent closure of this tenant,” WEM manager of marketing and communications Darcy Hewson said in a statement.
Bodnarchuk said 10 staff members were involved with removing the animals from the store and transporting them to the EHS. At the shelter, 20 more staff were ready to take in the animals, assess them and set them up in their new environments.
The EHS did not specify what types of mammals were seized.
“We received a call from someone concerned that these animals had been abandoned,” Bodnarchuk said.
“Our officers responded and determined that the concern was justified and began the process of seizing the animals and bringing them to EHS for proper care and attention.”
Under the Animal Protection Act, an abandoned animal 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 where an animal is being boarded, or is found on premises where a tenancy agreement has been terminated.
At the humane society Wednesday morning, the animals were not on display for the public. Bodnarchuk said the EHS is seeking donations from the public to help care for the big intake on animals.
“Due to the specialized care they require as well as the large scale of animals seized, we are requesting if anyone is able to provide monetary donations to the shelter to assist in their specialized care,” she said.
“With reptiles and amphibians, they do require specialized enclosures, heat lamps, special diets.”
Now in the care of the EHS, the animals will undergo a mandatory 10-day hold period. After that, humane society staff will determine the next steps, which could include putting the animals up for adoption. There is also a chance the animals could be returned to the pet store, Bodnarchuk said, adding it’s too early to say what will happen with them.
Charges could be laid under the Animal Protection Act, which carry up to a $20,000 fine and lifetime ban on owning animals if convicted.
More information on how you can donate to the EHS can be found on the shelter’s website.