BOYERTOWN, Pa. — Petco severed its relationship with a Pennsylvania animal supplier after a federal investigation into the facility’s conditions and a PETA report accused the supplier of keeping hundreds of small animals in cramped filthy bins and cages, then slaughtering or leaving them “to flail and die on the floor.”
The pet retailer said in a statement to the Associated Press Tuesday that Holmes Chinchilla Ranch and Other Small Animals Inc. is no longer a supplier after the retailer concluded they did not meet their animal care standards.
On the same day, PETA released a report stating an undercover observer saw the animals, which includes rabbits, gerbils, hamsters and chinchillas, were being kept in buildings that “reeked of urine and feces.”
“Gerbils frantically scratched at bins in which each animal had just 6 square inches of floor space. Some rabbits had less than 1 square foot of “living” space. A manager grabbed chinchillas by their sensitive tails and tossed hamsters a few feet from one bin to another,” the Petco report stated.
The observer said sick and injured animals never received proper veterinary care at the facility. Animals were being tortured, piled on top of each other into a “feces-smeared cooler and [workers] crudely gassed them with carbon dioxide.”
“Their screams could be heard across the room,” the report said.
The report said Petco has two lawsuits against it for having rats with rat-bite fever, a disease that can be transmitted to humans and potentially deadly.
PETA claimed the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched an investigation into Holmes Chinchilla Ranch after seeing its evidence.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture spent several days at Holmes this month after an animal-rights group shot video purporting to show substandard conditions at the Barto facility, about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia, the AP reported.
Holmes declined to answer questions about its operations, but said it is cooperating with USDA. The company told the AP it expects to “satisfactorily resolve any concerns that they have now or arise in the future.”
Holmes Chinchilla Ranch is the fifth retailer that Petco has severed ties with after the organization exposed cruel animal treatment at these facilities, according to PETA.
PETA has a petition for action against PetSmart and Petco. It has over 44,000 signatures as of Thursday.