After a January fire at a Las Vegas pet store put the lives of more than two dozen puppies in jeopardy, the owner and a co-conspirator have been charged for allegedly setting the store on fire purposefully.
The incident was caught on surveillance video, and just this past Tuesday, prosecutors released the video to the public. The video shows storeowner Gloria Lee entering the building and letting in her accomplice Kirk Bills through the back door.
The 27 puppies in their cages at Prince and Princess Puppies Boutique helplessly watch as Bills begins dousing the store with lighter fluid while Lee collects paperwork and necessary items from the back office. After a few minutes, Lee exits through the front door as Bills finishes pouring the flammable liquid on merchandise, before lighting the store on fire. Minutes after the fire starts, the alarm goes off and sprinklers turn on. Authorities say the only reason the dogs survived was because the sprinklers were able to contain the fire.
Now, both Lee and Bills have been arrested and charged while the puppies, thankfully uninjured, remain happy and healthy at The Animal Foundation.
“We’re keeping them separated from the general population, but they’re happy,” said Meghan Scheibe of the shelter. “We’ve had calls from people all over the city asking if they can adopt them.”
Lee and Bills face 31 charges, including 27 counts of animal cruelty. Both are being held in jail on $310,000 bail, and a trial date is set for July 7. If convicted, both are likely to spend decades in prison.