Petco has dropped the dealer since the USDA’s inspection, but PetSmart refuses to confirm if Holmes is still supplying the chain with animals
Federal inspectors discovered a gruesome scene at a Pennsylvania small-animal dealer that supplied animals to both Petco and PetSmart.
According to The Associated Press, the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspected the Holmes Chinchilla Ranch in January and just released its report about the visit. The report says that several dead animals were found on the premises — which houses thousands of hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas and more — along with dozens of animals in desperate need of veterinary treatment for aliments like hair loss and eye abnormalities.
USDA inspectors, who spent several days at the Barto-based ranch, also found unsanitary conditions throughout the facility and untrained employees performing procedures.
The USDA learned of the inhumane conditions at the dealer after receiving a video from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The video PETA sent includes footage of dead animals, live rats stuffed in plastic bags and stored in a freezer and numerous small animals being dumped in a “waste-filled cooler” and gassed to death. Holmes employees who performed these gassings told inspectors they learned how to euthanize animals online.
The USDA’s investigation into Holmes remains open, and the dealer claims to be working with the department to resolve any issues. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service could choose to issue a warning or fine against the dealer, or start the process of revoking the ranch’s license. While Holmes remains in operation, the dealer, who has provided animals to both PetSmart and Petco, has suffered severe business losses after the inspection.
Petco dropped Holmes as a supplier shortly after the January inspection. PetSmart, who is in hot water after a dog died under the care one of its groomers, refuses to announce if the company is still buying pets from Holmes.
“As a standard practice, we do not comment on the status of relationships with our vendors,” Michelle Friedman, PetSmart’s vice president of corporate communications, said in a statement. “Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of pets, and we take any allegation of mistreatment very seriously. We immediately review and thoroughly investigate, taking appropriate steps and corrective actions as needed to ensure our high standards of pet care continue to be met.”
Dan Paden, PETA’s associate director of evidence analysis, says a Holmes employee told the animal rights group that PetSmart is still receiving animals from the ranch.