13 dogs, 2 cats removed from downtown Birmingham business - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

13 dogs, 2 cats removed from downtown Birmingham business

These are some of the dogs that have been removed from BAARC in downtown Birmingham. Source: Ronda Robinson/WBRC These are some of the dogs that have been removed from BAARC in downtown Birmingham. Source: Ronda Robinson/WBRC
Jefferson County deputies removed animals from this building. Source: WBRC video Jefferson County deputies removed animals from this building. Source: WBRC video
Deputies removed 13 dogs and two cats from the building. Source: WBRC video Deputies removed 13 dogs and two cats from the building. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies removed 13 dogs and two cats from a building in downtown Birmingham on Thursday.

The sign outside of the building at 4915 5th Avenue South lists both "Head to Tail Animal Care" and "BAARC," which stands for Birmingham Animal Adoption Rescue Center.

The business does not have a current business license from the city of Birmingham, Jefferson County or the state of Alabama, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office confirmed.

"The business license that was in the store was to something else. We are viewing it as a scam," Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale said.

The Sheriff's Office began investigating the business in May, after getting a tip about possible "illegal business practices and animal cruelty," Chief Deputy Randy Christian said.

As part of their investigation, deputies and Birmingham police officers visited the business and found animals being boarded in "unacceptable" conditions, Christian added.

"There are some that are malnourished, there are some with obvious skin disease, skin problems," Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale said.

Deputies executed a search warrant at the location around 10 a.m. Thursday. The Sheriff's Office says the business owner, Scott Kirkland, was not there, but he spoke to an investigator by phone and said he was out of town.

Sheriff Hale had some strong words to say about Kirkland.

"He's not a veterinarian. He doesn't have a license to do this," he said.

Christian says Kirkland is facing charges of operating a business without a license. More charges are possible and the investigation is still ongoing.

One of the dogs that was rescued from the business has been returned to its owner.

"The other animals will be checked over by qualified veterinary personnel to determine if animal cruelty charges are warranted," Christian said.

Anyone who was boarding an animal at BAARC is asked to call the Sheriff's Office to claim their pet. The animals that were removed are being cared for by a vet at BJC Animal Control.

Cathy McCreless, who lives nearby, she says she has been complaining about Kirkland and these businesses for a long time.

"I want to see him shut down," she said.

BAARC is advertised online as a no-kill pet rescue center. People who find stray animals pay a fee and turn over the animals to the shelter hoping they will be adopted.

A FOX6 On Your Side special report focused on Scott Kirkland after a viewer complained about adopting sick puppies from Kirkland. Kirkland offered to pay the vet bills but so far has not picked up the receipts from Fox6 News.

Kirkland stipulated to animal cruelty charges in Leeds and appealed to Jefferson County court.

A lawyer for Scott Kirkland says BAARC is closed. Kirkland is also affiliated with Head to Tail grooming, which is at the same address. A "For Rent" sign is now in window of the building.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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