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November 24, 2014

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Additional charges filed in pet shop fire; warrant issued for alleged co-conspirator

Protesters march outside courthouse, demanding justice for 27 puppies

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L.E. Baskow

Gloria Lee, accused of arson and animal cruelty, in connection with a fire at her pet store, Prince and Princess Pet Boutique, appears in court Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 | 4:32 p.m.

Gloria Lee Pet Store Fire

Gloria Lee, accused of arson and animal cruelty in connection with a fire at her pet store, Prince and Princess Pet Boutique, appears in court Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Launch slideshow »
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Gloria Lee, accused of arson and animal cruelty in connection with a fire at her pet store, Prince and Princess Pet Boutique, appears in court Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.

The legal net widened today in the case of a suspected arson fire last month at a Las Vegas pet shop, with prosecutors filing charges against an alleged co-conspirator.

Gloria Lee, 35, owner of the Prince and Princesses Pet Shop at 6870 S. Rainbow Boulevard, is accused of helping set her shop ablaze on the morning of Jan. 27, endangering the lives of the 27 puppies locked inside. Lee, who was arrested last week, appeared this morning in Las Vegas Justice Court on a new criminal complaint charging her with first-degree arson, conspiracy to commit arson, 27 counts of felony attempted animal abuse, conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary.

During the hearing today before Judge Joseph Sciscento, prosecutors also announced charges against Kirk Bills, the man accused of setting the fire. Bills faces the same charges as Lee.

Bills is not in custody, and Sciscento approved a warrant for his arrest.

If convicted on all charges, the two could up to 140 years in prison and/or jail, according to the District Attorney's Office.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson watched the hearing as a prosecutor from his office told the court a grand jury would consider the case.

Outside the Regional Justice Center, about 15 people led by members of the Nevada Political Action For Animals group protested, demanding justice for the puppies.

A collection of people held signs that said "Animal Cruelty is a Crime" and displayed photos of pets.

"My mind can't even wrap around something so awful," said Kimberly Tulman, who brought her 2-year-old golden retriever Hannah to the protest. "She needs to be put away for a good long time."

A handful of activists also stood outside the the courtroom.

Prosecutors said evidence, including surveillance video at the store, was strong. They added that a neighboring business in the strip mall would be closed for a month to repair damage from the fire.

Sciscento placed Lee on house arrest and scheduled a bail hearing for Friday on the new charges. Lee surrendered her Korean passport

One activist shouted at Lee as she was escorted from the courtroom to a back route out of the courthouse.

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