More than 1,000 animals seized from Cleburne pet store

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The Humane Society of North Texas helped to remove more than 1,000 small animals from a pet store in Johnson County last month.

The HSNT said someone recently filed an anonymous complaint about the Pet Depot in Cleburne. Investigators with Cleburne Animal Services checked on the animals -- mostly rodents and a few birds, puppies and kittens.

The investigators found many of the animals in poor health. Several of the puppies had bald spots from flea dermatitis and the kittens had severe ear mites. Hundreds of rats at the store didn’t have adequate food, water and housing, the HSNT said.

Cleburne Animal Services was able to obtain a warrant on Nov. 30 and got help from the HSNT to seize the animals. A municipal judge has since awarded custody of the animals to the city.

“Once these severely neglected and sick small animals have completely recovered, they will be available for adoption in our adoption centers,” said Cassie Lackey, HSNT Director of Communications. “The Humane Society of North Texas will continue to support and partner with law enforcement, and act as an advocate on behalf of all animals, big or small, to ensure their well-being.”

Michael Fowler, the owner of Pet Depot, told the Cleburne Times-Review that the animals were being cared for and that most had just arrived at the store.

He told the newspaper the rats in the back of the store, which are mostly sold as food for snakes, were “unintentionally overcrowded from breeding.” He said he was working to bring down the population.