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Pet Cremation Shop Owner Apologizes For Making 'Bad Hiring Decision'

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We reported on Wednesday there were more than 40 animals found burning on a rural road in Okmulgee County near Beggs after they were supposed to have been properly cremated.

A Tulsa pet cremation company was responsible for disposing of the animals.

The owner said he is just as shocked as everyone else.

He spoke with us today and said because of a bad hiring decision, he's losing customers in a business built on trust.

In the 12 years Phil McArthur's pet cremation business Pets at Peace has been open, he's cremated about 100,000 pets.

McArthur says he's just as surprised as anyone to hear some of the animals sent to him to be cremated were found burning on a rural road.

"Felt like somebody punched me in the gut," McArthur said.

On Sept. 12, an Okmulgee County deputy found the bodies of more than 40 animals burning on a road.

Tags on the animals showed they came from Pets at Peace.

McArthur said he couldn't believe it.

"I had no idea these pets would end up in the middle of the road somewhere being burned," McArthur said.

Of pet cremations, about 20 percent of pet owners want ashes returned to them.

Those animals are cremated individually and McArthur returns their ashes in custom-made boxes.

The rest, where owners don't want ashes returned, are called common cremations, where they're cremated with other animals.

McArthur takes full blame for a mistake of one animal being included in the common cremation, that shouldn't have been.

McArthur said he should have been more careful in hiring extra help.

"Why would I jeopardize what I've invested 12 years in if I knew something like this was going to happen," McArthur asked.

He said he's in the process of moving his business and simply got behind on work.

So a friend lined him up with someone to contract out the disposal of the animals that were ultimately discovered in Okmulgee County.

"When you all of a sudden are hit with this, ‘Hey, did you know that some of your pets were found out in the middle of the road somewhere being burned,' you're like, ‘you've got to be kidding me,'" he said.

McArthur has lost some business and he's working to regain some trust that was lost as well.

"This is not how I do business, so all I can do is apologize," he said.

The Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office hasn't released the name of the subcontractor, but the case has been turned over to the Okmulgee County District Attorney's Office.

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