I wonder if you’ve been following the controversial goings on with the owners of Pets Plus and the Erie County SPCA? In case you missed it, in a nutshell, the SPCA raided the pet shop and seized a number of animals, many of them reptiles, that they claim were not being cared for properly. While in the care of the SPCA, a number of animals died, which the SPCA blamed on the poor condition of the animals and the shop blamed on the SPCA.

A lawsuit ensued along with a lot of accusations in the press and daily updates on a sign in front of the shop. I read the sign every day on my ride to work and found it always interesting.

The suit ended up with almost total vindication of the pet store. The animals were returned. I don’t recall if the store had to pay for the animals care, something the SPCA wanted along with punitive fees, or not. But they were clear victors in both the court and press.

Still, it leaves a bad feeling in my mind that an Erie County authority can come into Niagara County and raid a private business. The Niagara County SPCA had no problem with the shop, nor did any local agencies. What was going on here?

Rumour has it a disgruntled employee or ex-employee was involved. Figures.

I’m not a pet owner myself, but I have been in the store in the past. My kids have gone through fish and hamsters as pets and we’ve shopped there for both pets and supplies. I always found the store to be clean, bright (except for the fish area, where subdued lighting is used to accent the fish tanks) and almost zoo-like. The store had a large variety of snakes and reptiles on display and the owners were clearly animal lovers themselves.

So what did the SPCA want to accomplish? What right did they have to come into another county and damage a legitimate business’ reputation? Even though the charges were all dropped, the loss of business while the shop was closed, or missing part of it’s stock, plus the legal costs has to be considerable. I hope a civil counter-suit is in the works. This kind of heavy-handed misuse of power shouldn’t be left unchallenged.

I know I’ll never consider a donation again if the EC SPCA comes to me for money after this.