Exotic pet store owner cited for unclean conditions

Becky Campbell • Nov 7, 2017 at 9:57 PM

A local exotic pet store owner was cited this week on 35 counts of animal cruelty, accused of not keeping animals’ cages and tanks clean.

Corey B. Houser, 38, who owns Village Pets, located at 711 W. Market St., had been warned numerous times before Washington County Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas issued the citation, according to the court record filed Monday.

Thomas went to the store Oct. 23 after Animal Control received a complaint about the conditions there, where he reported finding “35 pet cages that were … extremely filthy.”

Birds were without water in their cages, tanks holding snakes, small mammals, lizards, geckos, rabbits, ferrets, chinchillas and fish were “nasty” and littered with feces, old skins and algae.

Thomas said the tanks “were not cleaned properly,” or Houser waited too long between cleanings.

According to the affidavit filed in Washington County General Sessions Court, Thomas visited the store seven weeks before issuing the citation and found the same conditions. He had asked Houser to close the store until he could get it cleaned up and so the shelter wouldn’t receive continuous complaints about the conditions there.

Houser told Thomas “he was the only person to clean up, that he could not keep help. This has been an ongoing problem for approximately four years.”

Thomas said Houser had received 15 to 20 warnings about the conditions in which he kept the animals before the charges were filed.

Thomas said there were even several dead animals in some of the tanks. The live animals in the store appeared to be healthy, but it was the living conditions for which Houser was cited.

Houser is scheduled for a court appearance in General Sessions Court Nov. 14.