Raffle of puppies in Vegas arson case underway - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Raffle of puppies in Vegas arson case underway

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The 27 puppies rescued from a burning pet store were placed in the custody of Animal Foundation. (File/FOX5) The 27 puppies rescued from a burning pet store were placed in the custody of Animal Foundation. (File/FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Raffle tickets for 25 of the 27 puppies rescued from a store that police said was set ablaze nearly two months ago began Sunday.

Investigators have said 35-year-old Gloria Lee and 27-year-old Kirk Bills are seen on surveillance video, recorded Jan. 27, dousing the inside of the Prince and Princess Puppies and Boutique with gasoline before lighting it on fire.

The business' sprinkler system was able to put out the blaze, and firefighters were able to rescue the canines without any being seriously injured.

Both Lee and Bills have since been arrested.

Since the fire, the puppies have been held at the Animal Foundation, where their future remained in limbo. The shelter had planned to raffle the puppies at $250 per ticket, but a lawsuit filed by Donald Thompson, co-owner of the pet shop and Lee's estranged husband, halted the process. He wanted the puppies to be turned over to a local animal foster group, A Home 4 Spot.

On Wednesday, a judge ordered the shelter and Thompson to work out a solution to the future of the puppies within 45 days, saying the lawsuit was a waste of taxpayer money. A gag order was also put in place.

In a press conference Friday afternoon, officials from the shelter said 25 of the puppies will be put up for adoption through a joint effort between the Animal Foundation and A Home 4 Spot. They said the two remaining dogs will be placed with the foster group.

The mutual agreement allows for the raffle of the 25 puppies. Officials said tickets are being sold on the shelter's website through 11 a.m. Tuesday. Winners will be drawn on Wednesday.

The prospective owners who are drawn from the raffle will be vetted by both the Animal Foundation and A Home 4 Spot, and will include an in-home visit.

"There's nothing ominous, or secret, or any huge to-do about it," said Animal Foundation executive director Christine Robinson. "It's making sure the animals are appropriately placed and we'll do that together."

The money collected from those who don't win the raffle will be pooled to assist 70 local animal rescue groups.

"Putting it into a separate fund that will specifically be for reducing rescue fees, everybody wins," said Robinson.

As for Lee and Bills, both have pleaded not guilty and are being held at the Clark County Detention Center.

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