The owner of the Macomb Pet Land was in court Wednesday to hear the charges against her. Jessica Spangler faces nine counts of aggravated animal cruelty after police removed 41 dead animals and rescued 56 living animals from her pet store late last month.
At the status hearing, Judge William Poncin said Spangler is charged with keeping animals unattended and without food and water, resulting in serious injury or death. Poncin said each of the nine counts of aggravated cruelty to animals is a Class 4 Felony and could carry a maximum of 3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and up to a $25,000 fine.
Poncin read off the nine counts of aggravated animal cruelty against Spangler while noting the specific diseased animal each charge pertained to including snakes, tarantulas, hamsters, bunnies, guinea pigs, and a cockatiel.
The state’s attorney’s office is also asking that Spangler be required to forfeit her personal companion animals.
At the status hearing, Spangler was quiet and allowed her attorney, James Hoyle, to speak on her behalf. Following the court proceedings, Hoyle declined to comment about the case to Tri States Public Radio.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 16, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the McDonough County Courthouse.
Spangler, 38, of Avon, owned and operated the Macomb Pet Land store on East Jackson Street in Macomb. In late May, police responded to reports that the business looked closed down and there appeared to be animals inside.
When police arrived, they found signs on the door saying the pet store was “Closed for Maintenance” and that “Animals are fed & watered daily!!”. Officers also noticed that the power to the building was off, a strong odor was coming from the building, and animals were loose inside.
Spangler was arrested and later released after paying $10,000, which was 10% of her $100,000 bond. She reportedly told police that she had hired Mike Law to care for the animals.
All 56 of the living animals removed from Macomb Pet Land were transferred to the McDonough County Animal Shelter and remain in the facility’s care.