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98 complaints filed against Aurora pet store; state opens investigation

AURORA, Colo. -- The FOX31 Problem Solvers are getting answers about customers’ concerns with what they consider filthy conditions inside a pet store.

The state has an open investigation into Pet City, located inside the Aurora Mall.

“I fell in love right away. I had to have her,” Sherri Millican said.

Millican purchased a chocolate poodle she named Jazzy from Pet City and couldn’t wait to get her home.

But shortly after, the dog started foaming at the mouth and had to be taken to a veterinarian.

“They said this dog is sick. You purchased a sick dog,” Millican said.

The vet told Millican that Jazzy tested positive for distemper and another issue.

“Also too she was deaf. She was deaf. You would (clap) and she wouldn’t respond," Millican said.

More Pet City customers claimed the conditions for the puppies inside Pet City are disgusting.

“I’ve actually stopped a dog from eating its own feces in there. It was pretty bad in there. The smell is outrageous and it’s gross,” Theresa Contreras said.

Puppies were seen lying next to their own feces.

Since the beginning of the year, the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Pet Animal Care Facilities Act program has received 98 complaints against the store, most stemming from a social media post.

The state has also issued 10 violations for things such as overcrowding, visible animal waste and unsanitary isolation rooms.

“Under our regulatory authority of facility, they can fail three inspections in a year and that’s grounds for revocation," said Nick Fisher with the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Pet City passed one this year and had one failed inspection last year.

According to state regulations, pet facilities are required to meet the minimum standard of cleaning cages only once a day. They say the store is in compliance.

“When we have a facility with numerous complaints, that is concerning and we keep our eye on them. All inspections are unannounced,” Fisher said.

FOX31: “Do you feel like you could do a better job running your store?”

“I think we do a very good job," Pet City owner Casey Ellis said. "We have a lot cleaner store than others I’ve been in. ... There is someone there from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. they do nothing but clean the dog cages over and over.”

When told customers want to see more accountability, Ellis said, “They are welcome to call me and set up a meeting with me. I feel I do the best I can and I go above and beyond my warranty any time a person has a problem.”

Millican said she could not afford the mounting medical bills for Jazzy and had to return her. The store reimbursed her for the dog, but Millican said not for all the bills.

“I lost a beautiful dog. She was my heart,” Millican said.

The state gives every pet facility 20 days to correct violations, which they say Pet City did.

However, there is still an ongoing investigation against the pet store that the state said they cannot discuss at this time.

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