CORPUS CHRISTI — The owner of the pet store raided at the Corpus Christi Trade Center two weeks ago was back in court again this morning. The judge ruled that he'll have to pay back thousands of dollars to Animal Care Services.
The owner of Pets and More Plus brought two witnesses to court to testify for him, but their statements weren't enough to influence the judge's decision.
The judge ordered him to pay more than $33,000. That will cover the city's cost of caring for his seized animals.
"There is food and water that have been served to those animals," said Arslan Ijaz, the owner. "They're not just left there hanging."
But Ijaz still insists he didn't mistreat his animals.
"It's like you're getting accused of something you don't even do," said Ijaz.
One of the witnesses, the Corpus Christi Trade Center manager, said Ijaz was there often on the days the trade center was closed, to feed the animals. But he couldn't recall their visits the week of the raid.
Meanwhile, an attorney for the city presented documentation to back up their claim that the animals were not being fed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. While Ijaz says they fed the animals extra on Monday.
"In one they they are accepting there is food, in one way they are accepting there is water, but they don't want to give us credit for that," said Ijaz.
Meanwhile, a customer testified he never saw any animals left unfed or not taken care of.
But after several visits and complaints about how the animals were being treated, Animal Care Services raided the shop two weeks ago.
During testimony, a veterinarian who treated the animals, told the judge many were underweight and several animals died. Vanessa Scarbrough, the lead investigator on the case also mentioned after the raid, many of those animals were still eating hours after the raid took place, which also indicated to them they were not being properly taken care of.
"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 Scarbrough.
Ijaz tells KRIS 6 he plans to appeal the ruling. That process could take up to 20 days.
Animal Care Services will present the outcome of today'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 are closed for now.