RAPID CITY, S.D. — The attorney of a South Dakota pet store owner whose business was raided last month said Friday that his client doesn't abuse animals and isn't the "terrible person" people are portraying her to be.
Attorney Timothy Rensch told The Associated Press that Marinda Parks, 38, was in the process of opening her new store and didn't have everything set up when animal control seized 90 living animals, including dogs and cats, on Aug. 16. Rensch said she had been sick with the flu and had been unable to clean her business the day animal control officers responded to a call about two puppies sitting in a puddle inside.
Animal control officers said they also found 36 dead animals and squalid conditions at the Pitter Patter Pet Store in Rapid City and issued Parks 203 municipal citations of animal cruelty and neglect.
But Rensch said the dead animals were cockroaches, goldfish and snails.
"These dogs and animals were not in any danger at all," Rensch said. "This gal is not an animal abuser, she's an animal lover. It's her passion. She's had a pet store for years."
Rensch said that as a result of the citations Parks faces, she lost her lease and all of her inventory.
"She's far from this terrible person she's been portrayed as," he said.
Parks first court appearance is Sept. 19.