Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Reptiles Suffer, Left to Die at Another Massive PetSmart Supplier Mill (PETA excerpt)
March 1, 2015 Animals crammed into filthy, crowded plastic bins stacked into shelving units like old bank statements. Living beings deprived of water for days or even weeks. Sick and injured animals denied veterinary care. Emaciated, severely dehydrated animals desperate for water. Animals cruelly killed by being gassed or frozen to death. We’ve seen it time and time again at dealers that sell animals to pet stores, and now we’ve seen it again at Reptiles by Mack, a reptile mill in Xenia, Ohio, that breeds and sells frogs, lizards, turtles, and other animals to pet stores across the country, such as PetSmart.
PETA eyewitnesses spent a combined 15 weeks at the facility, documenting systemic abuses and deprivation inherent in the pet trade. For many animals, the stress and suffering started even before they arrived in Ohio.
Animals were shipped from all over the world in barbaric conditions: crammed into plastic two-liter bottles, one-gallon milk jugs, mesh bags, and wooden crates separated into tiny compartments like egg cartons. Many were dead on arrival—having surely suffered tremendously during capture and transport, and workers carelessly cut open the containers with box cutters. At the other end of the journey—when animals were shipped out to PetSmart—conditions were equally harsh. Animals were shipped in plastic containers resembling restaurant “to go” boxes. One of PETA’s eyewitnesses saw hundreds left packed up for over 24 hours—without a drop of water or a scrap of food—before finally being subjected to shipping in all kinds of weather.
Severe crowding and intensive confinement led to gruesome injuries. Many water dragons spent so much time struggling to get out of the cramped tubs that they rubbed their snouts raw, some so extensively that their teeth were visible through the wound. Some lizards did manage to escape but were later caught with makeshift glue traps set by the staff. The traps often went unchecked for days, and many lizards were dead by the time they were found. One lizard’s tail broke into 11 pieces as a result of thrashing and trying to escape. Live animals were often carelessly yanked off the sticky boards.
Severely crowded bearded dragons fought for food, leading to mangled limbs, some left hanging by not much more than a thread of damaged tissue. Even the most grotesquely injured limbs were haphazardly slathered with Neosporin, at most, or just left to rot off. One worker said that he had cut off a bearded dragon’s leg with wire cutters and “snap[ped]” off their tails with his fingers. PETA’s eyewitnesses often found emaciated, lethargic animals who likely weren’t able to compete for food.
Altogether, PETA’s eyewitnesses documented the deaths of nearly 675 animals in only two of the company’s many departments over the course of just three months.
In late 2015, PETA alerted the company’s president, John Mack, to the abuses our first eyewitness found. We were assured that glue traps would no longer be used at the facility. We were also told that the facility had “secured on-site veterinary treatment for our animals, that approved AVMA euthanasia methods are used, that all animals have the necessary access to water, species-appropriate lighting and clean and appropriate living conditions.” Despite the president’s claims, a second eyewitness found that Reptiles by Mack workers had continued to deprive animals of veterinary care and adequate water and had begun to permit only managers, who do not work on the weekends, to kill animals, which had the effect of allowing dying animals to linger in barren “put down” tubs for up to several days before someone finally arrived to gas the surviving ones.
PETA has submitted its evidence to local authorities for investigation.
Read the full story and take action. Don’t be silent. Table of Reporting Animal Cruelty in the United States. In Canada, contact the relevant authorities in your community such as the SPCA, humane society, or police department. Let animal advocacy and animal justice organizations know, as well. Undercover investigations are critical in bringing public awareness as to what really goes on behind the scenes.