Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Online pet shop owner faces animal cruelty charges

February 19, 2010

By CBC News

A P.E.I. man who operated an online pet store has been charged with causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to animals.

Bud Wheatley faces seven charges, five under the Criminal Code and two under the provincial Companion Animal Protection Act. Wheatley, who up until about three years ago owned Snookums pet store in Charlottetown, ran PuppiesAcrossCanada.com. He took orders online for puppies and kittens and either transported the animals himself to buyers in the Maritimes or sent them by plane.

His website said he bought the animals from breeders and that a veterinarian inspected them for health problems. The charges stem from a four-month investigation in 2009. RCMP raided Wheatley's home in Covehead, on the North Shore, in October 2009. The provincial Department of Agriculture seized about 80 cats and dogs at the time and took them to the Humane Society.  Wheatley was served with a summons to answer to the charges of animal cruelty this week.

He declined an interview on Friday, saying his lawyers have told him not to talk. Wheatley was in the news about three years ago after several people who bought puppies at Snookums claimed the animals died from the parvovirus within a week of coming home from the store. At the time, Wheatley blamed the pet owners, saying he only sold healthy puppies. When business was good, he said he sold 3,000 puppies a year. No charges were laid at that time, but Wheatley closed the store. He had been in business for about 15 years.

Wheatley is scheduled to be in court March 8 to answer to the charges against him.

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