Pet store owner is hoping to reopen, despite complaints

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Earlier this week we told you about a horrible fire at the "All About Animals" pet store in Anderson County that killed several pets. Now some community members do not want to see the owner rebuild, saying the animals were living in horrible conditions.

It has not been an easy week for Denise Van Damme after losing some of her pets and pet store in a fire that is believed to have started in an electrical panel.

"If i have to start from scratch again i guess i will but it will take time", says Denise Van Damme, the owner of All About Animals.

However, officials with the Anderson Humane Society tell us they and other animal organizations are concerned about Van Damme reopening her store. They tell NewsFirst they've had numerous complaints concerning the welfare of animals in her possession and how they're living. Van Damme says she's isn't aware of this.

"I've never had any complaints in six years from any humane society whatsoever across the U.S.", says Denise Van Damme.

However one business owner who previously worked next door to Van Damme says he has a complaint. Up until a month ago the "All About Animals" store was located next to him in downtown Lawrenceburg

"It was nasty and when she moved out we found out just how nasty it was", says Scott Harper.

He took NewsFirst on a tour of the store where the animals used to live, as well as showing us photos of the store after Van Damme moved out.

"They drained their bathtub in an open sewer vent. There were animal feces and dog food on the floor and they put kitty litter over it", Harper says.

Denise Van Damme says, however, some of the damage was already there.

"I know the water had been leaking continuously. The carpet had been there for six years so no it wasn't in very good condition", says Van Damme.

She now can't believe she's being accused of not properly caring for her pets and just hoping she'll soon be able to start her business over once again.

"The negative comments wont stop me from doing what i do to help animals", says Denise Van Damme.

The Anderson County animal control officer tells NewsFirst they did cite Denise Van Damme last year at her home. They say she had 42 dogs and 5 cats living with her, which weren't tagged properly. She tells us she resolved the problem within a few days.

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