PETA: Petco knew store could flood

By Jillian Marshall

March 21, 2013 Updated Mar 21, 2013 at 11:49 PM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Animal rights activists say employees of a Johnson City pet store knew the shop would flood, and that animals would die.

Now, representatives for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say employees knew the dangers of the store -- that it was in a flood plain -- and didn't take proper precautions to save the animals' lives.

Nearly 100 snakes, ferrets, birds, reptiles and other animals drowned in dirty flood waters at Petco on Harry L. Drive.

Johnson City Police released to PETA statements provided by employees working the day of the September 2011 flood.

According to those documents, the store closed at 3:30 p.m., Sept. 7, 2011.

Then, two employees gave extra food and water to animals in case of "a power outage or extended time out of the store." Those employees left the store shortly before an evacuation was ordered for the area by police at approximately 4:45 p.m.

The statements say some of the managers knew the area of the store had been flooded before, but felt the animals were not in danger.

On the morning of Sept. 8, 2011, the store was inundated by several feet of water.

The animals that were moved to higher levels survived the flood, but those left lower drowned.

Dan Paden, senior researcher for PETA, is questioning why cages were moved if employees weren't afraid of flooding, as their statements indicate.

"You don't move cages up off the floor if you think you're going to lose power and it's going to get hot in there. You don't move cages up off the floor if you think you're going to run out of water for the animals to drink. You move cages up, because you think the store is going to flood," Paden said.

Paden said Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen is not going to press criminal charges against any of the employees.

The Johnson City Petco no longer sells animals.

PETA is asking Petco's located in flood plains across the U.S. to only sell merchandise, not animals.