After concerns arose that hundreds of animals at a pet store in West Edmonton Mall had been abandoned, the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) said they had been seized and an investigation was underway.

On Tuesday, the EHS Animal Protection Department seized more than 500 animals from a pet store in the mall, after concerns the animals had been abandoned.

“We received concern for the animals being abandoned the day before, officers went in, found the concern was justified, so we began the seizure process,” Peace Officer Bodnarchuk said in an interview with CTV News.

Officials said a variety of animals were seized, including small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

The animals were seized from what was the only pet store in the mall, MyPet. The store is now closed.

Bodnarchuk said an investigation was underway to see if the animals were abandoned and put in distress, if that is found to be the case, there could be fines, and a ban on owning animals in the future.

Bodnarchuk said the animals have to go through a mandatory hold period under the Animal Protection Act. “Once that period has passed, EHS can determine next steps,” Bodnarchuk said in a statement.

According to the Act, an abandoned animal is defined as one that has been left for more than 24 hours without adequate food, water or shelter, is left for five or more days after the expected retrieval time where an animal is being boarded, or is found on premises where a tenancy agreement has been terminated.

On Wednesday, officials said they couldn’t show the animals publicly due to the ongoing investigation. EHS called the seizure the second largest of this type in the Edmonton-area.

The largest was the seizure of more than one thousand rabbits from a home in Edmonton.

A spokesperson for West Edmonton Mall issued a statement to CTV News Wednesday on this incident:

"West Edmonton Mall, along with the owner of My Pet, worked together to facilitate the handover of animals to the Edmonton Humane Society within hours of the permanent closure of this tenant."

Meanwhile, EHS is asking for donations as staff care for animals seized in this case.

With files from David Ewasuk