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August 23, 2014

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Pet store owner asserts her innocence in court hearing

Alleged co-conspirator also appears in court

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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.

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 »

Puppy Arson Co-conspirator In Court

Defendant Kirk Bills, alleged as a co-conspirator in the arson of a pet store, sits in court waiting to appear before Las Vegas Township Court Judge Janiece Marshall at the Regional Justice Center Friday, February 21, 2014. Launch slideshow »

A woman accused of setting fire to her Las Vegas pet shop and endangering 27 puppies left inside it pleaded not guilty today to the 31 charges she faces in Clark County District Court.

Gloria Eun Hye Lee, 35, is accused of nearly killing the 27 puppies in what authorities say was an arson fire. She was indicted on charges of first-degree arson, conspiracy to commit arson, 27 counts of attempted cruelty to animals, conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary.

Lee pleaded not guilty. Her defense attorney, Thomas F. Pitaro, said he would be filing a bail motion.

Lee’s alleged co-conspirator, Kirk Bills, is facing the same charges in a case moving through Las Vegas Township Justice Court. During Bills’ court appearance this morning, a judge scheduled a bail hearing for Thursday and a preliminary hearing for March 10.

A group of a little more than 10 animal-rights activists attended the hearings for Lee and Bills, which overlapped each other in separate courtrooms at the Regional Justice Center.

Sprinklers extinguished the fire Jan. 27 at the Prince and Princesses Pet Shop, 6870 S. Rainbow Blvd., and Clark County firefighters were able to rescue the puppies.

Both Lee and Bills remain in the Clark County Detention Center. Bail for Lee is $310,000, and Bills is being held without bail, according to jail records.

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