Humane agents removed about 75 rodents, rabbits and fish — and one bird — from a Shakopee pet store that had come under fire for allegedly keeping animals in poor conditions.
Ed Dressen, longtime owner of downtown Shakopee's Eagle Pet Center, surrendered all of the store's animals voluntarily on Tuesday after years of concern about the store's cleanliness and the animals' health. A Facebook page calling for the store to stop selling pets had gained steam in recent weeks, with more than 6,000 likes.
"We've had agents investigating it for years," said Tim Shields, attorney for the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies, a nonprofit authorized by the state to intervene in cases of animal abuse or neglect. "It would get cleaned up, improve, and then things would get bad again."
Had Dressen not agreed to the animals' removal, the group was prepared to ask a judge for a warrant to seize them, Shield said, citing Dressen's ongoing neglect of the animals and the store's poor conditions. The store has not had power for nearly a week because of unpaid bills, he said. People also have been concerned because Dressen wasn't running the air conditioning on hot days this summer.
Dressen, who has owned the store for more than 40 years, has signed a contract agreeing not to purchase more live animals without a full building inspection, Shields said. He declined to speak with reporters at the store on Tuesday.
"It's just a very unpleasant atmosphere for people and animals," Shields said.
Mayor Brad Tabke has addressed the store's conditions several times on his blog and in Web chats. Although the store "isn't kept up the way that I would hope a pet store would be," the city couldn't do anything because there was no imminent danger to the public, Tabke said. The City Council, however, will address the possibility of adding ordinances pertaining to pet stores on Aug. 7.
The surrendered animals will be quarantined and then placed with the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley and various rescue organizations, Shields said. The fish will be given to another pet store to be sold.