On February 20th of this year, businessman and animal lover Bob Schenck walked into his pet shop in Fall River, Massachusetts to find that someone had broken into the shop the night before and smashed several tropical fish tanks with a metal pipe rendering them destroyed. Massive tanks filled with tropical fish and exotic coral were ruined; hundreds of pounds of coral and several fish perished in the vandalism. "We had containers and containers of dead fish all over the place, and you could see the coral wilted. You could tell the smell of death throughout the fish room," said Schenck.
Possible Animal Cruelty Charges
Following the attack, Schenck thought the vandal would get a minor slap on the wrist for his wrongdoing, if he were ever caught, however with the help of a local animal rights group in Boston, the assailant may be charged with animal cruelty as well. Schenck says "They have really stepped up to the plate. The Boston Animal Rescue League has even offered a $1,000 reward for information. But the best thing is, and what I'm the most ecstatic about, is that they're going to prosecute this guy on the laws on the books for injuring or killing any living animal that can feel pain, a.k.a. for animal cruelty...Beautiful! I love it. And that's what he's [going to] get, and it's well deserved."
So distraught by the vandalism and loss of his animals, Schenck has only been back to the shop a handful of times since the incident, rendering him unable to work or earn his living. "Walking by that brand new, empty tank was too much. It's just unfathomable to lose an entire system of legitimately, there were hundreds of organisms in that tank. A lot of that stuff had cohabitated for upwards of twenty years some of the stuff had been together, and it's all dead, the entire thing wiped out," Schenck said, while shaking his head.
But thanks to the great legal assistance from the Animal Rescue Leage in Boston, Mr. Schenck may receive justice after all, assuming the perpetrator of the crime is found. "I really have hope that the Fall River Police can find him. They should be releasing a better picture of him soon."
Long time customers, such as Shawn Corriveau also want justice to be done, "I think he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There was no reason for it. He was just killing everything in the tank, for no reason! I would be less angry if he came in and stole everything, but to just kill the fish just to kill them, that's just wrong. You shouldn't treat anything, any living thing, like that."
If nothing else there is some silver lining to this sad story, an 18-year old tropical fish named “Blue” was able to survive the ordeal. Somehow Blue was still alive after five hours without water; his will to survive was just that strong. Schenck said that “In the surveillance video you can see the fish flopping over and over again in a tiny, small little puddle of water. It's incredible that it lived."
The Fall River Police Department is still pursuing leads and have asked that anyone with information call.
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