The co-owner of a pet store has claimed ownership of the 27 puppies who survived a kerosene-soaked arson attempt on the shop.
Donald Thompson, the estranged husband of Gloria Lee, who faces charges for trying to burn down her business, has claimed the puppies, which include Yorkshire terriers, French bulldogs and pugs.
Thompson hopes to give the dogs to a local animal rescue group, A Home 4 Spot, according to a Clark County spokesman.
“At this time we are reviewing this proposal, specifically the ability of all involved to properly and legally take possession of the dogs,” spokesman Dan Kulin said.
It is unknown how long the review will take, Kulin said.
A Home 4 Spot president Diana England could not be reached for comment.
The county last week issued an order stating that if no claim had been made on the puppies by Monday, they would be put up for adoption by The Animal Foundation, the shelter that has housed the animals since the fire.
The case of the 27 near-singed pups has sparked an outpouring of interest from people seeking to adopt the dogs.
Meanwhile, Lee, 35, and her co-defendant, Kirk Bills, 27, face 31 counts, including 27 counts of attempted animal cruelty, one for each puppy. If convicted, they could face dozens of years in prison.
Both are being held at the Clark County Detention Center on $310,000 bail in connection to the Jan. 27 pet store fire.
Prosecutors say surveillance video shows Lee let Bills into the Prince and Princess Pet Boutique at 6870 S. Rainbow Blvd., south of the Las Vegas Beltway, where he tried to start a fire using kerosene splashed onto the puppy cages.
The blaze was extinguished by a sprinkler system, and the puppies survived unharmed.
Bills’ defense lawyer has said the video is dark and it’s unclear who the person is in the video.
But Bills, a fledgling professional boxer from Illinois, called Lee while she was in jail and asked if a face could be seen on the video, according to court papers.
On the recording of the conversation, Bills said, “I’m not going to be able to come sign for you ’cause girl they are looking for me too. Why are they looking for me girl, they chased me, they chased me but I got away. Did they see whose face it is?”
Bills on Jan. 29 fled from ATF agents who were watching his Henderson home and was arrested days later in Crown Point, Ind.
While authorities haven’t said what they believe Lee’s motivation was, federal bankruptcy records show she and her husband have only recently emerged from financial problems.
Federal court records show Lee and Thompson filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2007 in an effort to repay their debts. The case was closed in 2011.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.