As animals taken from the Dearborn Heights store Pet Station are nursed back to health after owner Razmi Daklallah was charged with animal cruelty this week, the question remains: What more can be done?
While the are pending, the effect on Dearborn-area families is palpable. Former patrons of the store said are horrified at the charges.
"My husband and kids bought me a kitten from there in 2009," wrote Dearborn resident Christie Thomason on the Dearborn Patch Facebook page. "It was very underweight and sick when we got him. They also were feeding the poor thing adult cat food that was too big for him to eat. He was licking the food. We have not been in there since."
"Horrible horrible place," added former customer Adam Stephen Jezewski.
And according to WXYZ, an 8-year-old girl's dog was seized in the raid of the store on Wednesday. The family is unsure if they'll ever see their pet again.
representatives commented Friday that the case serves as a reminder to potential pet owners to be careful where they shop.
"Make sure you know where you're getting the animal from and that it's an organization that is reliable," suggested spokesperson Sandra Boulton. "Learn more about them and who they are."
Shelter Executive Director Elaine Greene also commented that cruelty such as this is one of the reasons she encourages people to consider adoption before visiting a for-profit pet store.
"The Dearborn Animal Shelter urges people to choose adoption from organizations like ours for companion pets first," Green said. "It seems when animals are used for financial gain, there is a greater possibility of abuse. To help continue to stop animal cruelty, we encourage people to lend a voice to the voiceless and report suspected abuse."
April is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Anti-Cruelty Month, which the Dearborn shelter is using to highlight the issue–including how people can spot cruelty in stores or in their own neighborhoods. Signs include:
- Tick or flea infestations.
- Wounds on the body.
- Patches of missing hair.
- Extremely thin, starving animals.
- Limping or having difficulty standing or moving.
- An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal.
- Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, often chained up in a yard.
- Dogs or cats who have been hit by a car, or are showing any of the signs listed above, and have not been taken to a veterinarian.
- Dogs or cats who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions.
- Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners.
Signs of cruelty should be reported to a municipality's local animal shelter, or police department. In Dearborn, residents should call the at 313-943-2240, or the Dearborn Animal Shelter at 313-943-2697.