Update: In June, as we reported (see our previous coverage below), Lynn Kubic and her son Brian pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty in relation to allegedly horrific conditions at Jurassic Pets, a store in Thornton whose practices were first unmasked in a PETA investigation and video.
Now, Jurassic Pets owner Kenneth Kubic, who was convicted in May of eighteen animal-cruelty counts, has been sentenced to four years of probation, fined $1,800 (an amount that also encompasses court costs) and ordered to have no contact with animals during that period.
But the case isn't over yet. Kenneth plans to appeal his conviction.
As noted by the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office, testimony during Kenneth's two-day trial detailed "kittens, hedgehogs, reptiles and rodents confined to filthy enclosures without adequate food and water and desperately needing veterinary care. Several of the animals subsequently died."
Brian has already been sentenced to a year's worth of probation after pleading guilty to one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Lynn, who entered a guilty plea in relation to the same charge, is expected to be sentenced on August 31 — a rescheduled date.
As for Kenneth, Adams County Judge Brian Bowen ordered that he not work with animals during the appeals process.
Continue for our earlier report, featuring the PETA video and more.
Original post, 6:47 a.m. June 16: For any pet lover — hell, for any thinking, feeling human being — the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals video focusing on Thornton's Jurassic Pets is difficult to watch.
The description of the clip, first posted in December 2014 (two months after PETA shared the footage, plus witness accounts and more, with the Adams County Sheriff's Office), effectively summarizes the three and a half minutes of shamefulness. It reads: "Witnesses found animals — many sick and injured — crammed into filthy bins, hungry, thirsty, and denied adequate care. Many were 'whacked' or died in floods."
A subsequent investigation by the Thornton Police Department led to charges in March 2015 against the three owners of Jurassic Pets: Lynn Kubic, her husband, Kenneth Kubic and son Brian Kubic. And more than a year later, their cases are nearly done working their way through the court system.
Brian pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty in April — and last month, Kenneth was convicted of eighteen animal-cruelty counts. Lynn, for her part, avoided a trial that was scheduled to begin today by pleading guilty to one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty.
To give a better sense of what went on at Jurassic Pets, check out a PETA release below, aptly titled "Jurassic Pets: Little Shop of Horrors." That's followed by the video. (Warning: The images may disturb some readers.) Also on view: a CBS4 report about Lynn's guilty plea.
The Kubics sold many of the rats, mice, and kittens from the barn as well as reptiles and mammals bred and/or kept in their basement through their grimy pet shop in Thornton, called Jurassic Pets, where animals were crammed on top of one another inside cramped enclosures, in which feces, rotting meat, and dead animals collected for days.
As at the barn, workers also “whacked” rats and mice and admitted to wrapping them in plastic bags in an attempt to suffocate those who survived the blows. One little rat languished for almost ten minutes — gasping for breath and trembling — after being “whacked.” A worker then tried to break the rat’s neck.
Scores of ill or injured animals languished without adequate veterinary care, despite managers’ and Lynn Kubic’s awareness of their poor conditions. As one worker put it, “A trip to the vet is gonna be a hundred and something, so is it really worth our money to do that?... [W]e are a business.... If we were to take every animal to the vet that truly needs to be, there’d be no reason to sell ’em....”
Witnesses found a hedgehog, since named Ghost, whose right eye was shrunken. Lynn Kubic denied Ghost adequate veterinary care for months, until her eye was so “infected” that it was “los[t].” Ghost was rescued, and a veterinary ophthalmologist found that she had been neglected so severely that her eye had degenerated and lost all vision.
The witnesses documented evidence of thousands of deaths, including those of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and fish, the latter of which occurred in multiple massive die-offs in the store, and some had been ignored for so long that their bodies were rotting. Brian Kubic stated that it was “too late” for many ailing reptiles, and threw them into the freezer while still alive, where they suffered and died slowly and in agony.
Animals were routinely denied water. Many animals rushed to drink or soak themselves when water was provided for up to an hour.