CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS — The owner of a local pet store that was raided two weeks ago was back in municipal court Friday morning.
The hearing was to determine if Arslan Ijaz will face animal-cruelty charges.
Ijaz is the owner of "Pets and More Plus" which is located inside the Corpus Christi Trade Center.
More than 400 of his animals were seized because of complaints they were being mistreated and underfed.
Ijaz said the situation is all a misunderstanding. One of his customers and an employee are also at Friday's hearing.
"There are food and water that have been served to those animals," Ijaz told the judge. "They're not just left there hanging."
But the judge still ruled against Ijaz, ordering him to pay more than $33,000 to cover the city's cost of caring for the seized animals.
Ijaz still insists he didn't mistreat the animals.
"It's like you're getting accused of something you don't even do," he said.
But after several visits and complaints about how the animals were being treated, Animal Care Services felt it necessary to raid the shop.
A veterinarian who treated the animals told the judge that many were underweight when they were examined, and several animals died.
"We just felt with the times we'd been out there and the things we'd seen, it was time to take action on the pet shop," said animal cruelty investigator Vanessa Scarbrough,
Animal Care Services will present the outcome of Friday's ruling, and the evidence they gathered, to the District Attorney's Office and criminal investigators. They will determine if Ijaz will face criminal animal cruelty charges.
In the meantime, the animals will remain in the care of Animal Care Services, and the pet shop's doors will remain closed.