Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Akron pet store closes amid accusations over the drowning of rabbits 

Aug 05, 2009 Jim Carney - Beacon Journal staff writer

The Petland store at Chapel Hill Mall in Akron has been closed after a former employee at the store was charged with two counts of animal cruelty. Accusations of animal cruelty were raised after the employee allegedly posted a photograph of herself drowning two rabbits in the store's back room on Facebook — an Internet-based social network.

The store has been closed and will not reopen, according to a press release from the Chillicothe-based Petland. Petland said the decision to close the store was made ''in response to a recent incident regarding the horrific mistreatment of rabbits.''

Tim Harland, senior humane officer for the Humane Society of Greater Akron, said Liz Carlisle, a former employee, has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals in Akron Municipal Court.

Harland said his agency was tipped of the July 28 incident by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA has called on the owner of Petland chain, Ed Kunzelman, and its president Frank Difatta, to no longer sell rabbits at any of its stores nationwide.

Authorities say the Facebook photo showed a smiling Carlisle holding two dead rabbits. The photo was allegedly taken by a store manager. ''Petland will in no way, shape or form tolerate, any abuse of animals in its care,'' the company said in its statement. ''We are outraged of this gross violation of Petland's animal care standards.''

Petland said the animals at the Chapel Hill store will be removed. The store was owned and operated by a local franchisee. Petland did not release the name of the store's owner. Akron police said they were not aware of the incident. Petland said it will take ''any and all action necessary as this does not, in any way, represent the culture and dedication to animals of the thousands of professional Petland employees who provide extraordinary care every day across the country.''

PETA, in its statement, said Petland ''should follow the example of other national chains and immediately stop selling these small, vulnerable animals.''

Harland said this appears to have been isolated incident and Carlisle told investigators that it was her decision to drown the rabbits. ''She thought it was in the best interest of the rabbits,'' he said because they had suffered injuries inflicted upon themselves.

Carlisle, 20, of Ravenna, could not be reached for comment. She is scheduled to be in Akron Municipal Court on Aug. 17.

Carmina Posted 5:02 PM, 08/05/2009

Don't support stores that sell animals! This cowardly and poor excuse of a human being isn't fit for society. All of those involved in this murder and who did nothing when injuries were noticed on these poor rabbits are culpable. Glad to hear the store's shut down. Animal cruelty is a moral and legal crime. www.rabbitadvocacy.com

Hopping Mad: Petland Shuts Down Akron Shop After Worker Drowns Rabbits, Poses For Pics

Aug 5, 2009 Web Staff - 19ActionNews.com

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - It's an absolutely sickening case of animal abuse at an Akron-area Petland shop. Petland employee Elizabeth Carlisle is accused of drowning two rabbits and then posing for pictures with the drenched, dead animals. What's worse, Carlisle then posted the pictures on her Facebook page.

In response to the horrific mistreatment, Petland, Inc. has terminated the store owner's franchise agreement. Effective immediately, the store is closed and will not reopen. The animals will be removed from the shop, which was individually owned and operated by a local franchisee.
Petland will in no way, shape or form tolerate any abuse of animals in its care. PETA is also weighing in, and wants to ban rabbit sales at all Petland stores. A Petland worker told 19 Action News that "the store has been fielding phone calls all day long from angry people" and "a supervisor took the photo." Carlisle has been slapped with charges and will appear in Akron Municipal Court on August 17th.

The Akron Humane Society released the following statement late Wednesday afternoon:

Many individuals are inquiring about the drowning of two bunny rabbits at the Chapel 1-Jill Mall Petland store. The incident was reported to Senior Humane Officer Tim Harland by PETA on July 29. 2009, "Once we received the call, this was treated like any other investigation and I met with Gary Winslow the franchise owner to begin the investigation," said Harland. After a lengthy investigation which included 1-larland interviewing the accused, he determined that the incident did occur and she acted on her own. Today two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty charges were filed in Akron Municipal Court. These are M Class charges which make this an enhanceable crime which means if she is ever charged with animal cruelty again it will turn into a felony.

"The Humane Society of Greater Akron investigates cruelty and abuse in Summit County 365 days a year. However the use of a social networking website, as was used in this incident, is a bigger twist," said Harland.

Petland, Inc. released the following statement Tuesday, Aug. 4th:

"Petland, Inc. has been made aware of an isolated incident at the Petland store in Akron, Ohio as it relates to the mistreatment of rabbits and has immediately become involved in the investigation. The store, located in Chapel Hill Mall, is individually owned and operated by a local franchisee.

This information is horrifying and in no way reflects the values, policies and procedures demanded of Petland stores. Petland, Inc. is saddened and outraged at this gross violation of Petland's animal care standards. It is Petland's understanding that the employee was instructed to contact the store's consulting veterinarian, and instead, defied the orders and store policy and acted on her own. She was immediately dismissed and the case is now being handled by local law enforcement. Petland, Inc. is also conducting its own internal investigation.

This is an isolated incident that is horrific and inexcusable and will not be tolerated. Petland will take any and all action necessary as this does not, in any way, represent the culture and dedication to animal care of the thousands of caring Petland employees working across the country every day."

August 5, 2009 (PETA action alert) 

End Rabbit Sales Following Employee Rabbit Killings!

Dear Frank Difatta, President, Petland USA 

I was shocked to learn that Petland employee Elizabeth Carlisle drowned two rabbits at the Petland store in Akron, Ohio, and then posed with the animals' bodies for a photo, which she posted on Facebook. It appears that Petland can't provide the basic supervision and care necessary to keep the animals it sells healthy and safe. Petland has no business selling any animals, but in light of this incident, you should--at the very least--end the sale of rabbits at all Petland locations. It's the right thing to do. 


Carmina Gooch  

Care2 Call on Petland Officials to End Rabbit Sales on Heels of Employee Rabbit Killings! TAKE ACTION!

Carmina G. Wednesday August 5, 2009, 3:54 pm
We must all fight against animal abuse and cruelty. Those poor rabbits need our voice. This cowardly and sick individual doesn't belong in society.

Punish Elizabeth Carlisle to the Full Extent of the Law 

If you haven't signed the Care2 petition calling on the Akron Municipal Court to punish former Petland employee Elizabeth Carlisle to the fullest extent of the law for callously drowning two rabbits at a Petland store in Akron, Ohio on July 28 please do so now.  She must be held accountable for her cold-blooded and despicable actions.  

Target: Akron Municipal Court

Note: Please, everyone, don’t be silent on important issues like animal cruelty.  Take action, be a voice, a leader, and help end crimes against our vulnerable and valued animal friends.  THEIR LIVES MATTER!
The suffering these little rabbits endured in their short lives is beyond sickening.  Rest In Peace, Bunnies.

Pet worker guilty; gets probation for drowned rabbits  

Nov 19, 2009 Phil Trexler Beacon Journal staff writer (Ohio.com)

A Ravenna woman, whose Facebook photo with two drowned rabbits garnered national attention, was sentenced today to probation. Liz Carlisle, 20, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of animal cruelty. She also received a $250 fine and will perform 120 hours of community service.

She was sentenced by Akron Municipal Judge Stephen Fallis in a courtroom devoid of reporters and news cameras. Fallis, who was defeated in his election bid Nov. 3, could have sentenced Carlisle to 180 days in jail. In earlier court appearances, media cameras and animal rights protesters hounded Carlisle and her family inside and outside the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center.

Carlisle's attorney, Ron Gatts of Akron, arranged the sudden change of plea this week. Carlisle entered the guilty plea Tuesday and a presentencing report was completed in time for today's hearing. The plea was not reflected on the court's online docket.

Gatts said Carlisle has been subjected to verbal attacks and death threats since news of the photos broke in August. He said he wanted to take the case to trial, but Carlisle wanted to put the case behind her. Carlisle, he said, was ordered to drown the rabbits due to their severe injuries suffered during a fight with each other at the now-closed Petland store at Chapel Hill mall.

After drowning the rabbits, Gatts said a store supervisor photographed Carlisle smiling and holding a dead rabbit in each hand. Carlisle then posted the photo to her Facebook.com account, which caught the attention of animal rights activists.

Gatts said he was prepared to take the case to trial to prove that Carlisle did not break any laws by euthanizing the rabbits, which was directed by her bosses because of the severe injuries the animals suffered. ''As much as I wanted to try the case, [Carlisle] said, 'I did it,' which I think she has said from the beginning, and she said, 'I just want it to be over with.' ''

Prosecutors maintain Carlisle did not act appropriately and should have sought an opinion from a veterinarian before drowning the rabbits. Carlisle pleaded to the misdemeanor charges brought by the city.

''Unfortunately, it is not consistent with the way that most folks would deal with an animal that has injuries. You would take them to a vet and consult with the veterinarian as to the need for treatment, or whether treatment was appropriate,'' said Akron City Prosecutor Doug Powley.

Petland in Fairfax, VA, closes after allegedly letting rabbits 'die out'

April 3, 2019 Fairfax City Police served a search warrant on a Northern Virginia pet store while investigating alleged animal neglect. Rabbits for sale at Petland are dying without veterinary care, according to an undercover video released by the Humane Society of the United States. Our investigation found that rabbits in the store were deprived of veterinary care and often died. The undercover investigator found 14 dead rabbits in Petland's freezer on a single day in January 2019 alone. Source: ABC7

Please do not buy animals from pet stores – choose adoption. Please sign the petitions currently circulating and/or send a message to Petland: customerservice@petlandinc.com Petland was founded in 1967. Its CEO is Joe Watson. https://corporateofficehq.com/petland-corporate-office/

July 27, 2015 Investigate pet store accused of selling sick animals (please sign petition!)

Read more: Petland faces class action lawsuit

Petland faces class action lawsuit; Texas store closing; 2021 - HSUS puppy mill report

Go to our Pet Shops/Rabbits/Legislation pages  & Rabbit Issues and Advocacy for more

"Humanity advances only as it becomes more humane."  Dr. Frank Crane