Pets Plus owner Aaron Ashley in West Virginia has been charged with Felon Animal Cruelty after Fairmont Police allegedly found 22 pets from the store inventory in the freezer including a dog, six kittens, mice, rats, and a reptile in assorted bags.
Aaron Ashley, owner of Pets Plus in Fairmont, WV will appear in Marion County Magistrate Court April 28, 2010 at 11:30 am for pre-trial heaing in front of Magistrate Cathy Reed-Vanata according to Pearl "Chi Chi" Tenney, Assistant to the Magistrate.
Fairmont Police Department Detective Division acting on tips from Pet Plus employee's obtained a warrant to search the premises as well Ashley's vehicle. Police made a gruesome find when they opened the freezer and found the dead animals that were allegedly frozen alive according to court documents.
Property receipt of the seized frozen animal remains include one dog, six kittens, five mice, one reptile and 10 rats frozen to death. Ashley is alleged to have chosen to freeze the animals to death rather than pay for medical treatment that they needed.
According to the Criminal Complaint and Search Warrant, Ashley also allegedly sold dogs knowing that the dogs were infected with the Parvo virus and froze sick dogs instead incurring the cost of euthanizing them. Police were assisted in the investigation by the Marion County Health Department and US Department of Agriculture Veterinarians according to police records and magistrate court officials.
Ashley took over ownership of Pets Plus October 1, 2009 according to the The Times West Virginian.
Aaron Ashley was arrested last week and charged with Felony Animal Cruelty. He appeared before Magistrate Muriel "Peggy" Twyman . He’s currently free on $1,000 bond according to Magistrate Court Assistant's Tamara Newhouse and Chi Chi Tenney.
A call to Pet's Plus was not answered, the store was closed following Ashley's arrest. There is a message on the machine that says "Thank you for calling Pets Plus.We are Proud to announce we are no longer in business as Marion Counties only full-service pet store. We must now refer you to Morgantown, WV Streetside Pets and Bridgeport's Eastern Pet Supply. For grooming needs please call "Our" groomer at ... " At the end of the message you can clearly hear the sound of emergency vehicle-police sirens in the background.
Numerous calls to Shermantic Computer Services owned by Ashley were not answered. A visit to the store found them closed on at least one business day. Aaron Ashley's email address account listed on the Shermantic site is no longer valid/active and e-mail was returned.
In a letter to the Marion County Prosecutors office PETA Cruelty Casework Kristen DeJournett said" Given the suspect's apparent and utter disregard for the lives and suffering of animals in his care--and because repeat crimes are the rule rather than the exception among animal abusers--we implore your office to take every measure necessary to ensure that the defendant, if convicted, be barred from contact with animals for as long as possible and that all animals who are currently in his charge be immediately seized. Ashley allegedly chose to kill them via hypothermia when they got sick! He is also accused of starving animals and knowingly selling puppies infected with parvo-virus, which is often deadly.
Ashley who is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, is being represented by Fairmont attorney Patrick Stanton according to Tenney.