Pet store owner charged after 500 animals seized at West Edmonton Mall
Sherwood Park man faces charges of abandonment and causing animals to be in distress
The Edmonton Humane Society has laid charges against the owner of a West Edmonton Mall pet store where 500 animals were seized in February.
Minchaw Menan Tom of Sherwood Park has been charged with one count of abandoning animals and one count of permitting or causing an animal to be in distress, the society said Monday in a news release.
The charges were laid under the Animal Protection Act.
The maximum penalty is a $20,000 fine or a lifetime prohibition from owning animals, the release said.
On Feb. 27, the humane society seized hundreds of animals from the My Pet store at the mall, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, lizards, snakes, spiders, frogs, crabs, birds and hundreds of fish.
Most of the animals were adopted at an event hosted by the humane society in March.
"This was one of the largest seizures our animal protection officers have conducted," said Dan Fryer, director of animal health at the Edmonton Humane Society.
The number of animals, variety of species, and the fact that a pet store was involved made this a "unique" investigation, he said.
The nature of the case means there is no historical precedent for determining what kind of penalty could be imposed, Fryer said.
Whether the owner would be able to operate another pet store in future, Fryer said, depends on the judge's finding once the case has been through the courts.
"It could, in theory, be possible," he said. "It depends on the judge's discretion."
Members of the public are the society's eyes and ears when it comes to animals being neglected or abandoned, and people who see abuse should report it, Fryer said.
Tom is expected to appear in court this fall, the release said.