HUNTINGTON — After opening just six months ago, an exotic pet shop in downtown Huntington has had its business license rescinded following allegations of animal cruelty.
The city of Huntington Department of Administration and Finance issued a cease-and-desist order for S&S Reptiles and Exotics, located in the 700 block of 3rd Avenue, to vacate its business license, said Bryan Chambers, director of communications for the city.
According to the city, the exotic pet shop did not have a state business license and did not have the proper state permit to sell the animals and reptiles it sold.
The shop also did not fully disclose to the city all of the animals it would be selling when it filed for a business license in Huntington.
The city also alleges the shop did not properly pay the city service fee, paying it for only one employee when there were at least six.
The shop, co-owned by Jason Sias, Evan Adkins and Kevin Smith, is also facing animal cruelty charges after several complaints sent animal control officers to the shop last week. A Tuesday hearing in Huntington Municipal Court was postponed until 9 a.m. next Tuesday, Nov. 19.
Jon Rutherford, animal control officer with the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter, said last week animal cages were not being kept up, creating a foul smell that permeated the 7th Street parking garage.
Rutherford said Tuesday photographs of dead animals in the shop had been sent to the shelter.
Municipal Court Judge Cheryl Henderson ordered the shop owners to care for the animals through Tuesday because the shelter does not have the capability to care for some of the dangerous animals the shop had for sale, including a cobra and a rattlesnake.
“They legally possess them,” Rutherford said, “but I feel it is a danger to everyone’s health and well-being considering there is no antivenom for hours away.”
Rutherford said come Tuesday, he hopes to gain custody of the animals so the proper authorities can come in and care for them.
“We have to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice,” he said. “That’s what we hope to do.”
Huntington Municipal Code states animal cruelty includes intentionally, knowingly or recklessly mistreating an animal and withholding proper sustenance, including food and water, among other things. If found guilty, people must relinquish the animal to the shelter and, along with any fine, be responsible for any cost to the shelter.
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