Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pet shop owner busted after cops find five dogs & cats in her freezer, dozens more sick and hungry

A pet shop owner in Florida has been charged with animal cruelty after police found a dead and sickly pets throughout her home and shop, including several frozen in her freezer.

In all, cops rescued 26 pets - dogs, cats, a rabbit, a bird and a hedgehog -- on Monday from the Palm Beach home and shop of Debora Van Oort, owner of Forever Puppies. They also discovered five dead cats and dogs frozen in her freezer, two dead dogs in her shop and dozens of sickly, starving animals roaming around her apartment.

Police conducted the search after finding two dead golden retrievers at Van Oort's shop, which had no air conditioning or heat, police said. Necropsies revealed that the dogs hadn't eaten for days, authorities said.

After seizing 12 animals from the shop, including dogs, cats and a rabbit, cops raided Van Oort's home, where they found one cat that looked like a walking skeleton and several dogs in cages and caked in feces, according to The Palm Beach Post. Investigators pulled 14 more animals from her hovel, plus the five frozen corpses in the freezer, police said.

The hedgehog was the only one that appeared to have food and water, according to the Post. Animal control officials said that Van Oort was known to "stockpile" animals at her home and had run into trouble with animal authorities in the past.

One of her shops, Top Shelf Puppies, was nailed in the past for importing animals from large Midwestern puppy mills, a pet industry term for dirty, poorly run breeding farms, according to the Post.


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