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USDA, PETA Find Inhumane Conditions at Breeding Facility

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USDA inspectors found numerous small animals, often diseased or dead, kept in filthy cages at the Holmes Farm facility in Pennsylvania in January. (PETA photo)
USDA inspectors found numerous small animals, often diseased or dead, kept in filthy cages at the Holmes Farm facility in Pennsylvania in January. (PETA photo)
 By Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AZ - Producer, Contact
May 23, 2016

PHOENIX - An animal-rights group is demanding that an Arizona-based pet supply chain, PetSmart, stop selling animals obtained from a breeding farm that is under federal investigation for cruelty.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report released last week found numerous violations of federal animal-care laws at Holmes Farm in Pennsylvania, which supplies small animals to hundreds of pet stores.

In late May, PetSmart released a statement saying it had investigated reports of mistreatment ay Holmes Farm, and based on that, terminated the company as a supplier.

Dan Paden, associate director of evidence analysis with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said based on a PETA exposé, USDA inspectors found inhumane conditions at Holmes Farm's facility.

"The USDA found at least 117 different animals in need of veterinary care or rusty cages or dead animals," said Paden. "It said violated a total of 14 different federal laws that pertain to the care of animals."

According to Paden, Holmes Farm supplies guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas, gerbils and other small animals to pet stores.

He said PETA's agents filmed evidence that animals at Holmes Farms were frozen alive, kept in filthy cages, and deprived of food, water and care.

Other pet supply chains, such as Petco and Pet Supplies Plus, said they have stopped doing business with the breeder, but Paden said PETA is still waiting for PetSmart to take action.

"We are renewing our call on PetSmart to end and animal sales," he said. "And at the very least, certainly not supply animals from suppliers that have been found to violate a single law, let alone 14 different federal ones."

PetSmart, with corporate headquarters in Phoenix, employs about 53,000 people at more than 1,400 stores in North America.

In addition to sales of pets and supplies, the company also provides veterinary and boarding services at many of its outlets.

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