The local pet store owner whose criminal case is at the heart of Saturday’s animal rescue stories is still fighting his charges in court.
Timothy Charles Lorraine, 61, of Whitley City, is next due to appear in Pulaski District Court for a pre-trial on January 19.
Last summer, Lorraine pleaded not guilty to 19 counts of second-degree animal cruelty after authorities closed her Burnside store.
The charges stem from an April investigation into Tim’s Reptiles and Exotics. The store was located south of US 27 in the old Tri County Flea Market. According to the warrant served on Lorraine by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, the animals inside the store were subjected to “cruel and injurious treatment due to lack of food, drink, space [and] Health care.”
During the execution of the search and seizure warrant on Sept. 1, Burnside police conducted the investigation with the assistance of Pulaski County Animal Control, the Department of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, the Pulaski County District Attorney’s Office, and the Somerset-Pulaski County Humane Society.
Due to the scale of the operation, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) – based in Washington, DC – was also enlisted by BPD to help rescue some 150 exotic pets that were in the store during the its closure. Of these, Burnside Police Chief Mike Hill estimated there were 80 animals – such as snakes, lizards, turtles, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils – to deal with, the rest being fish.
Chief Hill told the Commonwealth Journal that authorities were at the scene for more than seven hours.
HSUS officials said in a news release that the guinea pigs and several turtles were forced to share the same enclosure, which was covered in cobwebs. The water in the aquariums was cloudy and most animals apparently had no access to food or clean water. The hamsters were frantically gnawing at the metal lining of their makeshift enclosure, and some of the rabbits were found in sterile cages with nowhere to find relief from the wire floor.
The animals underwent initial veterinary examinations on site and were turned over to the Burnside Police Department before being placed with several organizations ready to provide specialist care. According to HSUS, these organizations include Liberty Nature Center, Thoroughbred Exotics, Bourbon County Rescue, Paws 4 the Cause, Lexington Humane Society, Wildlife Matters Rehabilitation Haven, and KY Fish and Tank Rescue.
Second-degree animal cruelty is a Class A misdemeanor in Kentucky — punishable by 90 days to 12 months in jail as well as a fine of up to $500.
Lorraine was released after her arrest on a $2,500 cash/property bond.