A pet store owner who abandoned her animals, leaving dozens to die in inside a store with no electricity, food or water, faces felony animal cruelty charges.
Police arrested Jessica Spangler, 38, of Avon, Illinois is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after an investigation revealed 41 animals died as a result of her neglect - primarily rodents, birds and reptiles. Another 56 animals - including two cats - survived and have been fostered. The aggravated animal cruelty charge carries a maximum three year prison sentence.
Spangler ran Pet Land in Macomb, Illinois as police investigated the store on Saturday, May 26, after receiving complaints of a foul smell. When they entered the store, they discovered numerous dead and poorly cared for animals. Power had been shut off since May 14.
During a press conference on Tuesday, May 29, Macomb Police Chief Curt Baker said Spangler said she did not know the animals weren't being cared for and said she had arranged for someone to check on them.
Baker also urged people to have patience as the case goes forward, noting Spangler had been the target of many social media threats.
"Justice will be done," he said. "Please be patient and let the process take place."
Spangler had been booked into the McDonough County, where she was released on bond.
Police say more charges are likely forthcoming.