Pet store closes, woman faces multiple animal cruelty charges

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

She says she wants to make it right! A Bell County pet store owner now faces more than fifty counts of animal cruelty. Police said several animals had no water.

The store in Middlesboro was closed days ago. Its alleged owner Tammy Rummell is now facing 57 counts of cruelty to animals.

Animals are still getting cleaned up.

"We felt like the animals were in danger," said Jennifer Nagle, with the Bell County Animal Shelter.

Animal control officials and police started investigating Purrfect Pets in Middlesboro weeks ago. They determined the shop was without electricity for more than a week.

"There were dead goldfish laying on tabletops. There was a tank of goldfish where probably half of them were dead," said Nagle.

A variety of animals were taken into custody, ranging from rats, to rabbits, to puppies - 57 animals in all.

"Keeping the animals warm through the winter was hard, our bills doubled, tripled," said Tammy Rummell.

Rummell is facing those charges. She said she is having to close down her London pet shop too because of the economy.

"It will be there again. It will," said Rummell.

Rummell said a worker was taking care of the animals at the Middlesboro store, despite having no electricity.

As for the charges, she is hoping to clear her name.

"I hope I can explain them," said Rummell.

Rummell's landlord in Middlesboro told us she was a great tenant until recently and had apparently fallen on hard times.

Rummell faces cruelty to animals charges in the second degree. Animal control officials said those are misdemeanor charges which carry a fine and up to twelve months in jail. Rummell will be in court June 28th.

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