By Eugenia Jones
A resident of Whitley City who was the sole operator of Tim’s Reptiles and Exotics, a pet store at the Tri County Flea Market in Burnside KY that has been shut down, was arrested after a search and seizure warrant was served last week at the pet store by the Burnside Police Department.
Timothy C. Lorraine was charged with 19 counts of cruelty to animals in a large scale, alleged severe neglect situation. According to a press release from The Humane Society of the United States, approximately 150 exotic animals were rescued from the pet store. The Burnside Police Department was assisted with the rescue by the Humane Society of the United States, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Special Investigation Unit, Somerset-Pulaski County Humane Society, Pulaski County Attorney’s Office, and Pulaski County Animal Control.
The press release states dozens of snakes, lizards, turtles, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and fish were found living in filthy, inadequate conditions with guinea pigs and several turtles forced to share the same spider web covered enclosure. Fish tank water was murky, and most of the animals had no apparent access to food or clean water. Hamsters gnawed frantically on the wire siding of their makeshift enclosure, and some of the rabbits were found in barren cages with nowhere to find relief from the wire flooring.
“It was deeply disturbing to witness the bleak lives of these animals in this shop of horrors” said Todd Blevins, Kentucky director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We are thankful to the Burnside Police Department and all of the organizations involved in getting these animals the care that they desperately need.”
Equally as disturbed as Blevins, Burnside Police Department Chief Mike Hill expressed his shock at the situation.
“I was shocked to see animals living in these conditions,” Hill said. “It is a great relief to all of us here that these animals will have an opportunity to be rehabilitated, thanks to the help from the Humane Society of the United States and everyone involved in making this rescue happen.”
The animals received veterinary exams on-scene and were surrendered to the Burnside Police Department. Several organizations stepped up to provide specialized care including Liberty Nature Center, Thoroughbred Exotics, Bourbon County Rescue, Paws 4 the Cause, Lexington Humane Society, and Kentucky Fish and Tank Rescue.
According to Kirsten Peek, Manager of Media Relations for The Humane Society of the United States, the organization has received updates on some of the animals indicating they are receiving clean, comfortable living conditions, getting appropriate food, clean water and care, and perking right up.
According to Pulaski County District Court officials, Lorraine pled not guilty Friday morning during his arraignment and was appointed a public defender. His bond was reduced to $2,500 at 10% with some conditions including that he not have pets or animals (including reptiles) in his custody, control or care while his case is pending. Lorraine is not to be involved in the care, rearing, purchase, or sale of pets, reptiles, or animals and cannot participate in any volunteer or commercial organization involving pets, reptiles, or animals. A pretrial hearing was set for September 15, 2021.