(LAS VEGAS, KXNT)–An injunction halting the scheduled raffle of puppies that survived a store arson will remain in effect for now, according to a ruling by a Clark County judge.

Twenty-five puppies and two dogs survived an arson fire at a Rainbow Boulevard puppy store in late January. After owner Gloria Lee and an alleged accomplice were jailed on arson and attempted animal cruelty charges, Clark County moved to find adoptive homes for the dogs. The Animal Foundation announced it would conduct a raffle to find owners among the large number of people who had expressed interest.

However, the raffle plan was halted last week when Lee’s estranged husband and business partner Donald Thompson obtained a temporary restraining order, asserting his claim to the animals. That injunction was granted by Judge Kenneth Cory, who Tuesday continued his injunction, ordering an evidentiary hearing for Wednesday March 19.

The judge has several questions about Thompson’s role in the business as well as when he attempted to make the claim for ownership of the animals.  Judge Cory also ordered the plaintiff to pay an $8000 bond in order to keep the injunction in place.  The money will pay the associated costs of the Animal Foundation for continuing to care for the animals while the injunction remains in place.  Pet shop attorney Jacob Hafter expressed frustration over the amount of the bond.  He tried to get the judge to move the animals to non-profit A Home 4 Spot.  The judge denied that request.

When asked why Donald Thompson wants to move these dogs from the care of the Animal Foundation, Hafter said he believes the Animal Foundation is interested in the money.

“Nobody has ever said that A Home 4 Spot is a bad alternative or improper one and yet they are fighting us vigorously for this case.  It doesn’t make any sense.  I don’t understand why the county or the Animal Foundation is doing this aside from their own pride and desire to make money off the raffle of the puppies,” stated Hafter.

Animal Foundation Executive Director Christine Robinson, who was also in attendance at Tuesday’s hearing, disagreed with Hafter’s statement.

“That’s unfortunate.  The Animal Foundation has actually lost a lot of money in this process and that’s okay because that’s what we are in the business of doing.  We have no intent to make money on this raffle.  We’ve never had any intent to make money on this process…. this is not a money grabbing exercise.  It is an exercise to find 27 dogs good homes,” expressed Robinson.




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