INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A near eastside pet store won't be selling any pets in the near future.
That's because Indianapolis Animal Care and Control leaders say they found hundreds of dead fish and lizards inside Thursday afternoon.
Over 385 animals that were still alive were confiscated, including fish, lizards, puppies, birds, even guinea pigs.
Deputy Chief of Enforcement Marcus Brown, with Animal Care and Control, said they first came out to inspect the Fish Bowl Pet Shop on East Michigan Road last Wednesday.
They found numerous violations, and told the store owner, Bill Houston, he had two days to take care of them.
"On Wednesday when we came in, we counted over 200 dead fish in the aquariums," said Brown.
"There were numerous violations that very much concerned us about the welfare of the animals," said Dan Shackle, spokesperson for Animal Care and Control.
They say the conditions were filthy and unhealthy, with animals sitting in their own feces. They found dead animals in tanks and cages with live ones.
"We asked them how many lizards were in a tank, and they believed only seven. We counted over 40," said Brown. "The iguanas, there were 13 stacked on top of each other."
They gave Houston two days to clean up the place, then got an emergency suspension of his pet shop license.
Houston told 24-Hour News 8 he did the best he could, obviously distraught as he watched IACC take the animals from his shop. He says he's been in business for 45 years. Customers were even coming in as IACC worked.
"I owned it for 45 years," said owner Bill Houston. "I guess we did something right for the first 44 years, or we wouldn't be in business. It doesn't look good right now. I hope the dog pound and the court system will let me stay in business. I love the business, I love the people that come here."
Many of the fish were left with Houston, and IACC will come to check on their care every day, they said.
Some of the nearly 400 animals confiscated will stay at IACC. Others will be sent to foster homes and rescues until a judge makes a decision on whether he'll allow Houston to stay in business.
That hearing is set for March 20, with a licensing hearing set with DCE the following day.
Until then, Houston is only allowed to sell pet supplies.
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