Dozens of small animals were found dead inside an Illinois pet store recently, and authorities say it was because they were abandoned in a building with no electricity.
Police in Macomb, Illinois, were called to Macomb Pet Land on Saturday after receiving a report of a stench coming from the building, which had been closed. A nearby business owner told WQAD they could also hear a bird inside the locked-up store.
Signs on the front door indicated the store was closed was maintenance and that animals were being "fed and watered daily," The McDonough County Voice reported.
But police said it appeared no one was taking care of the animals.
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Police said in a news conference they were "overwhelmed with the smell of dead animals and the smell of ammonia" when they went inside.
Officers found 41 deceased animals, including rabbits, snakes, hermit crabs, tarantulas, hamsters, mice and fish.
The power had been disconnected since May 14 because the bills hadn't been paid, according to WQAD.
Media reports said the store's owner, Jessica Spangler, of Avon, has since been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.
The 38-year-old woman told investigators she didn't know the animals weren't receiving care and that someone else was supposed to be checking on them, The McDonough County Voice reported.
Animals that survived the ordeal, including two cats, have been placed in foster homes and "are doing well," according to the McDonough County Animal Shelter.
The animal shelter is accepting donations for supplies and food to help take care of the remaining animals.
"This is a very upsetting situation for everyone and we understand the concern but we ask for continued patience," the animal shelter wrote on its Facebook page Monday.
The police department said it was working with the animal shelter, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Agriculture and local veterinarians in the ongoing investigation.