PetSmart store leaders booked on animal cruelty charges following raid at Bellevue store

(FOX 17 News/Metro Police photo)

Leaders of a Bellevue PetSmart store that was raided earlier this year have been booked on misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.

Store leader Greg Gordon, 31, Assistant Store Leader Kristopher Stengel, 39, and customer engagement leader Tonya Smith, 39, were booked Monday for a citation of cruelty to animals.

Citations for the suspects say each of them failed to provide care for small animals. Their charges stemmed from a raid by Metro Police and Animal Control at the PetSmart in One Bellevue Place along Sawyer Road on March 29.

Six animals, including a guinea pig, mice and hamsters, were confiscated from in light of photos and video showing sick and injured animals not being cared for properly.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) provided authorities with photos, video and information concerning sick and injured animals not receiving proper care. PETA said Nashville authorities acted fast as the raid was executed three days after submitting their findings.

An eye-witness for PETA worked at the store as part of its investigation. PETA said a guinea pig at the Bellevue store suffered multiple illnesses that eventually spread to its heart, brain and elsewhere. PETA also said a mouse died after a month of suffering from an irritated eye and apparent respiratory infection.

(updated to reflect PetSmart statement) A statement released by PetSmart reads:

“It’s abundantly clear that PETA is behind these false criminal charges, and that PETA is misusing the criminal justice system for their own agenda. We are confident that the judicial process will vindicate our PetSmart associates, and we look forward to exposing PETA’s own misconduct and abuse of the criminal process in court.”

PETA also claimed an eye-witness regularly found dozens of dead fish in store tanks. One one occasion, PETA says more than 200 dead fish were collected from tanks in a single day at the Bellevue store.

All three suspects were not in online jail records Tuesday morning.

*This story has been updated to note the charges against the store employees are misdemeanors, and a statement from PETA included in an earlier version of this story has been removed.

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