SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/CNS) - The owner of two San Diego pet stores and one in Oceanside is under investigation Wednesday for possibly mistreating animals being kept for sale, animal welfare officials said.
Search warrants were served at the three stores and at a private residence in El Cajon Tuesday "following a lengthy investigation related to the health and safety of the animals" in the owner's care," said Kelli Herwehe, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The pet stores involved were Pet Place in Rolando, Puppy Stars in Clairemont Mesa and Naedeen's Puppies in Oceanside. A grassroots group that calls itself the San Diego Animal Defense Team has been protesting the stores since last August and filed complaints with the county, calling the stores local puppy mills, according to News 8.
Animals from the stores were taken to the San Diego Humane Society, where they will be kept "as evidence," Herwehe said.
"Any potential charges that may be pressed against the owner of the pet stores will be determined based on the condition of the animals, and the evidence that is being collected...," Herwehe said.
She declined to release additional details, including the pet store owner's name, on grounds that "an active investigation" is in progress.