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Cedar pet store owner absent from hearing

A pet-store owner charged with 36 counts of animal cruelty failed to appear Tuesday for her pretrial conference.

An arrest warrant was expected to be issued for Debbie Jo Sisk, owner of Pinky's Pets, who failed to show up for a hearing before 5th District Judge Robert T. Braithwaite.Iron County prosecutors said Sisk's telephone has been disconnected and she left no address with her attorney. Her trial is scheduled for Friday.

Sisk is charged with 31 Class B misdemeanors and five Class A misdemeanors. She had been operating Pinky's Pets for about six months when city animal-control officers received several calls in July alleging abuse and neglect of the store's animals.

Police and animal control officers confiscated 51 animals from the pet store in a raid on July 17. Sisk was in the hospital at the time. Animal control officer Kerry Gunter said it was the worst case of confinement and malnutrition he has witnessed during his six years in the business.