By SHERRI KOLADE
HEIGHTS — Pet store owner and Dearborn Heights resident Ramzi Dakhlallah was charged with animal cruelty April 11, by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Dakhlallah, 40, is accused of letting roughly 70 birds, 20 dogs and an undetermined number of other animals live in poor conditions, while witholding water and food at the Pet Station, 5317 S. Telegraph Road, Worthy said.
Daklallah was arrested April 11 and arraigned the next day in 20th District Court. The 37 charges range from one count of abandonment and/or cruelty to 10 or more animals, a felony with a penalty of up to four years in prison, and 13 counts of violation of the Animal Industry Act for not following the state Department of Agriculture rules for importation of dogs into the state, a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to four years in prison.
Dakhlallah and the store also face misdemeanor charges ranging from one count of false pretenses between $200 and $1,000 for selling a sick animal. He also faces one count of nonsufficient funds between $100 to $500 for writing a bad check on the pet store’s account. Both charges are a misdemeanor with a penalty of one year in prison.
Worthy said in a written statement the alleged conduct of the defendant exposed the customers of the store to “an enormous potential health hazard.”
“In an effort to profit from their misery, these animals were allegedly subjected to horrific abuse and deplorable living conditions,” Worthy said.
The alleged abuse was tracked from July 31, 2009, through April 10, in a joint mission from the Dearborn Heights Police Department, Dearborn Heights Animal Control, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Michigan Humane Society and the Michigan Department of Agriculture.
Dakhlallah received a $25,000 cash or surety bond and Pet Station received a $10,000 personal bond, Wayne County Prosecutor Spokesperson Maria Miller said. The bond prohibits him from purchasing new animals and possessing or caring for animals.
His preliminary examination is scheduled for April 25 in 20th District Court.
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected])