22 animals seized from pet seller
By TAMARA EL-KHOURY
Published March 8, 2007
OLDSMAR - The Humane Society of Pinellas seized 22 animals Sunday from an Oldsmar Flea Market vendor, citing concerns with overcrowded living conditions.
The society's representatives - citing a state law that allows such groups to intervene in the case of neglect or cruelty to animals - took three pigeons, six rabbits, four guinea pigs, eight exotic birds and a rooster from B and G Pets.
The society said it has notified the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, but the agency has yet to respond.
No charges have been filed against the animals' owner, Robert Liu of Zephyrhills, who said he's sold animals at the same location for 12 years. Liu, 43, said he's in full compliance with all state laws.
"They took a lot of money from me," Liu said. "My business is stopped now."
Liu said he hasn't decided how he will challenge the action.
Barbara Snow, the organization's executive director, said the Humane Society received several complaints about the living conditions of the animals.
On Saturday, Humane Society representatives visited the pet store and everything seemed fine, Snow said. The organization got another complaint and returned Sunday to find the birds and other animals in conditions they described as so overcrowded the creatures were unable to move around and be comfortable in their cages.
Half of the six rabbits have since died, Snow said, and the others are sick and being treated by a veterinarian. A necropsy is being performed to determine the cause of death.
The Humane Society will return the creatures if the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which oversees the selling of exotic birds, deems Liu in compliance with regulations, Snow said. As of Tuesday, the agency hadn't returned any calls. Gary Morse, the agency's spokesman, said the entire inspection staff is in Tallahassee for training.
- Three pigeons - Six rabbits - Four guinea pigs - Eight exotic birds - One rooster