Over 200 animals were rescued from a strip mall pet store Friday after officials discovered the shop had been keeping them in dangerously filthy conditions.
About 30 animals were found dead at the Muncie, Ind., store, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Rescuers from the Muncie Animal Shelter removed dozens of hungry and neglected birds, snakes, ferrets, mice and other rodents from the store, as well as the dozens of dead animals, who had been left in their cages.
Penny Vore, a shelter staff member who was present at the rescue, told The Dodo about the horrific scene she encountered. "The smell was the worst when you walked in the door, it was very, very dirty and they were all overcrowded," she said. "The ammonia smell was terrible, when you started digging."
According to Vore, the pet store didn't even have running water at the time of the rescue.
After the investigation concludes, the small animals will be sent to different rescues equipped to care for them. "That's what we did the last time," Vore said, referring to another pet store in the same strip mall that was shut down for similarly horrific conditions. "It was right next door."
At that shop, more than 600 animals - mostly rodents and reptiles - were rescued. An animal cruelty charge is pending against a man connected to that location, and the two stores may be related, the Star reports.
Hopefully, now that they're in safe and clean conditions, the animals will make a quick recovery from their ordeal in the pet store. But Vore won't soon forget what she saw there: "It was just a filthy, filthy place."