February 6, 2007
Customers say a popular taxidermist has vanished...and with him, their money and prize animals.
The business burned down in October, but customers say the owner hasn't let them know what happened.
The Augusta business is called A&K Taxidermy, and for years people went there to get their animals stuffed.
But recently it was sold...and now, it's gone.
Dylan Rose's first fish was a 9-pound largemouth bass. Right now, all he has left to remember it by are pictures.
The Roses took the fish to A&K Taxidermy in June to have it stuffed and mounted, so it could sit on the wall next to his grandfather's fish.
"It was supposed to be returned in 12 weeks," Dylan's father, John, told 12 On Your Side.
That would have been in September, but so far the fish and the Roses' down payment has vanished.
John's attempts to get in touch with the owner, Nicholas Kuaney, have gotten him nowhere. 12 On Your Side couldn't reach him either, despite leaving several voicemails.
In October there was a fire at A & K Taxidermy. Today, crews are working to clear out the leftover debris. There are no animals to be seen.
The Roses aren't the only ones frustrated. 12 On Your Side talked to a half dozen other people who are too.
"I took him a turkey and three ducks in April of 2006," said Ken Johnson, who hasn't seen his animals since.
He's one of the lucky ones. He's actually heard from Nicholas Kuaney...but it wasn't good news.
"He told me my stuff was okay except for the ducks, which were a total loss."
The Roses weren't so lucky. No calls have been returned.
They understand things could have been destroyed in the fire, but what they don't get is why they haven't heard from the owner.
"My heart is torn for my son, but you can only imagine his heart," John said. "He's cried many a tear as well."
Mr. Kuaney, if you're reading, just remember: this goes way beyond some stuffed animals.
Give your customers a call. Let them know what happened.
Or give us a call. We'll help put you in touch with them. The number's 803-278-1212.