Mona Shield Payne
Published Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 | 9:50 a.m.
Updated Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 | 3:12 p.m.
On the day a judge set bail for an alleged co-conspirator in a Las Vegas pet shop fire, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office said adopting out the 27 puppies saved from last month’s blaze was a step closer to reality.
The District Attorney’s Office announced today it had delivered a letter Thursday afternoon to Gloria Lee and Donald Thompson, owners of the Prince & Princess Pet Shop, giving them 72 hours to assert a right to claim the puppies.
This afternoon, Lee's attorney Ozzie Fumo said Lee would not claim the puppies.
"From day one that's what she's wanted for them," Fumo said. "She understood the situation and wanted them to have good homes"
If Thompson does not assert his right, the puppies would be turned over to the Animal Foundation, the Clark County animal shelter that has cared for the animals since the fire Jan. 27 at the pet shop, 6870 S. Rainbow Blvd.
Lee, 35, and Kirk Bills, 27, are charged with more than 30 counts, including arson and attempted animal abuse, in the fire. Both remain in the Clark County Jail on $310,000 bail.
Should Thompson not assert his claim to the animals, the Animal Foundation would be able to find homes for the puppies, “just as it does for more than 10,000 dogs and cats every year,” the District Attorney’s Office said in the news release. “How the Animal Foundation will accomplish this would be announced after the Foundation secures legal ownership of the puppies.
Assertion of ownership rights by Thompson would initiate a review of their ability to properly and legally take possession of the puppies. He would be responsible for an impound fee of $100 per unsterilized puppy, a $10-a-day boarding fee for all of the dogs, plus any sterilization, vaccination or medical treatment fees the pups required. In total, county spokesman Dan Kulin said, the fees would likely be more than $10,000.
During this morning’s hearing in Las Vegas Township Justice Court, Judge Janiece Marshall set Bills’ bail at the same amount as Lee’s.
Authorities captured Bills in Indiana about a week after the fire. His attorney Roger Bailey said Bills was not the man seen in a surveillance video setting fires throughout the shop, and he said Bills didn’t flee. But prosecutors said a recorded jailhouse call between Bills and Lee presented a different story.
“They chased me, they chased me. I got away. Did they see whose face it is?” Bills allegedly said in the call.
In setting Bills’ bail, Marshall said she was troubled by the call.
Marshall also scheduled a March 10 preliminary hearing for Bills.
Prosecutors served notice the case against Bills was being presented to a grand jury for consideration. Lee already has been indicted by a grand jury, pushing her case into Clark County District Court.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.