A Winnipeg pet store owner who was forced to close after enduring frozen pipes was investigated by Manitoba's chief veterinary office.
Tanya Morgan told CBC News that someone complained she was abusing the animals because she didn't have water at her store, Pet Peripherals, for more than a month.
“I'm speechless, to be honest. I was speechless then. I'm still trying to wrap around it," Morgan said.
"The city leaves me without water for 32 days. Me and my staff do absolutely everything we can while being completely ignored by them.
"Twenty-four hours after I get running water back, the province of Manitoba is out inspecting me because I'm abusive to animals or negligent or whatever the accusations are."
Late Tuesday afternoon, Morgan told CBC News that while the store has not yet been officially cleared, inspectors found no violations.
Closing this weekend
Morgan said the frozen pipes situation has already cost her the business, on Regent Avenue East in the city's Transcona neighbourhood. She's selling off all merchandise and closing on March 31.
"We did whatever we could. We cleaned as many fish as we could throughout the whole month, cleaned out as many animals as we could throughout the whole month," she said.
"I mean, I was judged because why didn't I put an ad on Kijiji [for] free animals."
The store’s pipes froze in late February and Morgan, who first spoke to CBC News on Sunday, said the last communication from the city indicated it would be at least mid-April before her pipes were thawed.
Morgan tried to keep the store operating but lost her grooming business as well as a number of pets.
“You can't use the washrooms. You can't wash your hands. Anyone who knows anything about pets, you can't handle a guinea pig and then go handle a reptile,” she said. “You're cross contaminating them. You're going to have sick animals."
Morgan said about 100 fish and a handful of mice and lizards died because she didn't have access to clean water.
The bottled water and jugs brought in by firefighters weren’t enough to keep cages and tanks clean, she said.
After CBC ran the initial story on Morgan's wait for thawing pipes Sunday morning, a city crew showed up at her property that same afternoon. And after 32 days of not having water, the crews were able to thaw her pipes within an hour.
Still, Morgan said too much damage was already done to keep her business going.