Pet Cruelty of the Highest Degree: Camden Country Cracks Down on Evil Landlord

From the Newark Star Ledger�

“More than 400 animal cruelty and disorderly persons charges were filed yesterday against the landlords of a Camden County strip mall where animal protection officers claim 106 creatures were left unattended in a pet shop closed for a week.

The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals contends its officers found five dead animals – two geckos and three tarantulas – when they and the Clementon Borough police were called to the Paradise Pet Center on Berlin Road last Thursday.

The remaining 101 animals – including rabbits, birds, rodents, snakes and lizards – were found languishing in pens filled with feces and having dirty water or no water at all, according to the NJSPAC.” (Brian T. Murray reporting)

Well, if that’s not one of the most disgusting things I’ve heard in a long time, I don’t know what is. I think I’ve become desensitized so vehemently by images of war and the insurmountable atrocities of mankind that the only things that really get to me are pet cruelty stories, and this may have been the worst I’ve read in a long time. Perhaps predictably so, the rest of this story plays out like the worst case “he said, she said” scenario you’ve ever heard, with the strip mall’s controlling partnership blaming the negligent pet shop owner, the state blaming them and the owner no where to be found.

A group called Medici LLC of Mount Laurel operates the strip mall and its principal, Robert Racciatti, had this to say�

“They (the animals) were not unattended. No animals died. The electric had been shut down because he didn’t pay the bills, which is why we got a court order to take possession of the premisesâÂ?¦We went in to protect the animals.”

So he says, but that’s not how the NJSPCA and Johnny Law saw things. Allegedly whoever was supposed to be looking after the animals, as Racciatti claims, didn’t show up. When borough officials notified the animal officers to investigate the situation “they found the animals suffering when they entered the buildingâÂ?¦including a rabbit that, while still alive, could not move because it was malnourished” (Murray).

The bottom line is that pet cruelty is probably a much bigger problem than we know (or at least choose to acknowledge). Obviously, I’m not saying that it occurs to the extent of this case, but most officials, as well as the general public have overlooked the mistreatment of pets, for a long time. Some people treat animals worse than dirt, and its time for anyone who cares to realize this. Too often pets wind up in the hands of hurtful, neglectful owners but you know something, it doesn’t have to be that way. Please, if you’re thinking about adopting a pet, check out and look into it.

We can make a difference in the overall treatment of animals, one pet at a time.

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