The owner of Macomb Pet Land, Jessica Spangler, faces charges of aggravated cruelty to animals after the Macomb Police Department found 41 deceased animals inside her store and removed 56 neglected animals from the site.
Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker said during a media briefing Tuesday morning that a concerned citizen called in early Saturday afternoon to report that Macomb Pet Land appeared to be closed down, but there animals were inside and a strong odor was coming from the business.
Barker said when officers responded, they found signs on the door saying “Closed for Maintenance” and “Animals are fed & watered daily!!”. He said officers noticed that the power to the building was off and animals were loose inside.
“Given the exigent circumstances, the landlord was contacted to gain entry to the building. Once officers entered the business they were overwhelmed with the smell of dead animals and the smell of ammonia.”
Barker said officers found 41 animals dead inside the pet store including:
- 10 snakes
- 8 rabbits
- 5 hamsters
- 5 Mice
- 3 Hermit Crabs
- 3 Tarantulas
- 2 Degus
- 1 Lizard
- 1 Gerbal
- 1 Rat
- 1 Guinea Pig
- 1 Cockatiel
- And an unknown number of fish.
Officers also found 56 neglected animals alive inside the pet store. Barker said there were no dogs inside. There were a few cats among the living animals, but Barker declined to further detail the other types of animals present.
Barker said all living animals were evaluated by medical staff, cleaned and have been placed with foster homes where they will remain until the court proceedings.
Police issued a warrant on Sunday for the owner, Jessica Spangler. She was arrested by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and then transported to McDonough County Jail where she was later released on bond.
Barker said Spangler was interviewed by investigators and that she said, “she had coordinated another individual to care for the animals and she was not aware that they were not being cared for,” Barker said.
Barker said that they had received a complaint about the business back in February and officers conducted a walk through, “at that time, everything was being cared for and there were no deceased animals.”
Barker said several people helped during the criminal investigation and he thanked McDonough County Animal Control, Dr. Lotz of Animal Medical Center, Dr. Blakely of All Pets Veterinary Clinic, the Macomb Fire Department and 13 volunteers including members of the Macomb High School FFA for their support.
Barker said he is asking the community to be patient and allow the criminal process to do its part. He said the investigation is still pending and that he expects future arrests in the case.