A case of animal cruelty was revealed in Dearborn Heights Thursday with the charging of a local pet shop owner accused of abusing or neglecting more than 100 animals.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced the charging of Heights resident and Pet Station owner Ramzi Daklallah for alleged criminal acts including cruelty to animals, pet shop violations regarding record keeping, and animal industry act violations regarding the importation of dogs. The case involves more than 20 dogs, more than 70 birds, a number of guinea pigs, hamsters, frogs, snakes, lizards, tarantulas, chinchillas, mice and rats.
It is alleged that Dakhlallah, and his corporation Pet Station, L.L.C., engaged in keeping animals under unsanitary and unsafe conditions dating back to July 2009. Additionally, the charges state that he knowingly sold unhealthy animals, while others had improper medical records.
The shop came to the attention of authorities as a result of citizen complaints regarding the lack of food and water for the animals, feces and urine that overwhelmed the pens where animals were kept, and the observation of generally cruel conditions related to the care and maintenance of the animals in the store.
The animals were taken Thursday from the store by the Dearborn Heights Police Department with assistance of the Michigan Humane Society, which is caring for the animals along with the Taylor Animal Shelter.
Daklallah and his business were charged on the following counts:
- Count 1: Animals – Abandon/Cruelty to 10 or More Animals (Felony – Four years) Allegation: Animals received inadequate care, food, water, sanitary conditions and medical attention.
- Count 2: False Pretenses – $200 to $1,000 (Misdemeanor – One year) Allegation: False representation about the health of animals causing a patron to purchase an unhealthy animal.
- Count 3: Check – Non-Sufficient Funds - $100 or more but less than $500.00 (Misdemeanor – one year) Allegation: Wrote a non-sufficient funds check on Pet Station checking account.
- Counts 4 – 23: Pet Shop – Violations (Misdemeanor - 90 days) Allegation: Either importing into this state, or offering for sale, an animal that had been imported, and not ensuring proper inoculation of that animal within seven days of importation.
- Count 24: Pet Shop – Rule Violations (Misdemeanor - 90 days) Allegation: Failure to maintain proper records on each animal in the shop.
- Counts 25-37: Animal Industry Act – Misdemeanor/Rule Violations - Minimum 30 days – Allegation: Violating Michigan Department of Agriculture rules regarding the importation of dogs into the State of Michigan.
"In an effort to profit from their misery, these animals were allegedly subjected to horrific abuse and deplorable living conditions,” said Worthy. “Further, the alleged conduct of these defendants exposed the customers of this enterprise, as well as the citizens of Dearborn Heights and Wayne County, to an enormous potential health hazard."
Defendant Daklallah was arrested and arraigned in the 20th District Court in Dearborn Heights.