Beaufort County officials, ASPCA still investigating allegations - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort County officials, ASPCA still investigating allegations of animal cruelty at pet store

Roy's Aquarium (Source: Google Street View) Roy's Aquarium (Source: Google Street View)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

A joint criminal investigation into animal cruelty is underway at Roy's Aquarium in Beaufort. 

Beaufort County Animal Services initiated the investigation late last week after receiving numerous complaints of animal neglect. An inspection of the business was conducted and revealed unsanitary conditions and inadequate space for hundreds of animals located on-site. Due to the magnitude of the situation, as well as the need for more resources and expertise, Animal Services requested the assistance of the sheriff's office and the ASPCA. They also contacted the Petco Foundation for supplies needed for the animals. 

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, Beaufort County Animal Services, the ASPCA, and the Beaufort County Attorney's Office are all participating in the investigation.

During a meeting on Monday, they identified the need to obtain a search warrant to remove the animals from the apparent conditions of neglect and provide immediate care and treatment.

“They did an inspection and found that the conditions were unsanitary and there was a large amount of overcrowding for the pets that were actually on the premises,” said Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Bob Bromage.

Tuesday morning, they obtained the warrant and served it to the business on Ribaut Road. A temporary facility to house and properly care for the fish, reptiles, birds, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and other animals was secured, and the ASPCA and Animal Services are transporting them to that facility. Two local veterinarians are involved in the assessment and care of the animals. 

“The neglect is for the care of the animal, so failure to provide humane care needed for the animals which include proper food, appropriate food, appropriate water, appropriate housing, appropriate environment. All of that is a part of the Beaufort County Animal Cruelty Ordinance," said Kathryn Destreza, director of Investigations at ASPCA. 

Because we’re dealing with reptiles and amphibians, that creates an extra challenge.

“Any animal that’s been neglected of basic care, when you add in species that require a special habitat and things like that such as fish, moving them is always tricky,” said Destreza.

ASPCA says this is an active criminal investigation and they will be on scene for as long as it takes to collect all of the evidence from inside the building. 

Criminal charges for those responsible for the neglect of the animals are currently being evaluated. No one has been charged as of now. 

Stay with WTOC, as we'll update you as soon as we have more information. 

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