Employee Says Puppy Store Owner was in Financial Trouble - 8 News NOW

Employee Says Puppy Store Owner was in Financial Trouble

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Gloria Lee Gloria Lee

LAS VEGAS -- New information is surfacing about the owner of Prince and Princess Puppy Boutique.

Metro Police say Gloria Lee tried to burn down her own shop over the weekend with 27 puppies inside. 8 News NOW has learned this is not the first time owner has been investigated.

In 2008, Lee landed before a judge accused of depriving her dogs of medical care and violating several county ordinances.

While those animal abuse charges were dismissed, after she provided documentation, some of Lee's past employees have reached out to 8 News NOW through email saying they knew the place was in trouble.

One former employee, Trisha Delos Santos, says money problems and a sense of desperation was apparent in owner Gloria Lee.

Santos can barely comprehend the motive behind the fire that nearly killed all of the 27 inside Prince and Princess Puppies and Boutique.

"The fact that she is the one that lit the store on fire completely crushed all of us," Santos said.

All the animals are safe in Las Vegas valley shelter. Santos says she treated each of the dogs like her own.

Police say Lee played a part in setting her shop on fire but they have not said what prompted something so drastic.

Santos says the signs were there, pointing to Lee's apparent financial problems. She says the shop's phones were recently shut off and the website went down.

She also says the employees had not been paid in three weeks. Also, basic supplies couldn't be found, and the employees stepped up.

"The dogs did not have dog food. My coworker went out of her way and paid out of her pocket to get these dogs food so they wouldn't starve," Santos said.

Santos said the most telling sign was the number of puppies they had in the shop.

"We didn't get any dogs in the month of January, at all, which was extremely strange," she said.

Police say Lee wasn't alone in the arson. She was seen on a surveillance video letting a man, identified as Kirk Bills, into the shop.

The video shows him pouring what appears to be gasoline on the floor and the kennels.

"Obviously she didn't care for them, if she was willing to set the whole store on fire with them in it," Santos said.

Santos says she doesn't expect to see any money for the hundred or so hours of work she is owed.

At least four complaints have been filed against Lee with the Labor Board. Santos says the puppies are what kept each worker coming back.

"We couldn't leave the dogs. We couldn't leave them with her, that was a big thing that stopped all of us," she said.

Now, the front of the store is littered with signs that say puppy killer. Lee is expected in court Wednesday morning to face a judge once again.

As Lee prepares to head into court, animal advocates will hold a rally in front of the justice court asking that Lee gets the maximum penalty. The rally will be at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday at 200 Lewis Avenue in front of the Las Vegas Justice Court.

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