Written by Michelle Kretzer
taken a few weeks and no small amount of TLC, but the rabbits who were rescued
from a hoarder's facility, Bunny
Magic Wildlife & Rabbit Rescue, Inc., are healthier, stronger, and ready to meet families who will love and care for them
authorities raided the so-called "sanctuary" based on evidence
gathered by PETA, they rescued 222 rabbits packed inside owner Carole Van Wie's
filthy garage and home, where ammonia fumes were so strong that responders had
to put on masks.
Wie kept rabbits stacked in cages one on top of the other, amid their accumulated
urine and feces. She hadn't provided sick rabbits with veterinary care, and she
had left contagious animals with those not yet obviously sick. Some rabbits'
nails were so overgrown that they caught on the wire bars of the cages, and
many were infested with fleas. Authorities found at least one rabbit dead
inside a cage.
now, with their traumatic ordeal behind them, the Bunny Magic rabbits are ready
to go home for good—with families who are willing to give them the specialized care that rabbits
If you are ready to make a lifetime
commitment to an animal and can give one (or better yet, a spayed and neutered
couple) of these rabbits all the love and care that they deserve, you can apply
to adopt one from the Tri-County Animal Shelter, in Hughesville,
Maryland, by calling 301-932-1713 between the hours of 12 noon and 5 p.m.
Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
People who recently purchased
mice, hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs from a pet store might have gotten more than they bargained for—such as vomiting, chest pain,
testicular pain, meningitis, paralysis, fluid on the brain, or even children
born with birth defects.
The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) is investigating an outbreak of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)
infections in mice shipped to pet stores throughout the country earlier this year. Mice with LCMV can
infect other rodents and even people who come into contact with them.
And guess which company shipped
out some of the infected mice?
None other than Sun Pet, Ltd.—the PETCO and PetSmart supplier whose Georgia warehouse PETA investigated in 2009 and 2010. Our undercover
investigator documented filthy, severely crowded conditions; unsalable animals killed
in a crude, filthy makeshift gas box; and sick animals deprived of veterinary
care. One worker put live hamsters into a bag and then bashed the bag
against a table in an attempt to kill them.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture put the facility
on probation following PETA's investigation.
Infected rodents shed LCMV in their
urine and saliva, and it also becomes airborne in filthy, cramped conditions such
as those that PETA documented at Sun Pet's warehouse. For animals, it can cause
weeks or even months of lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, inflammation,
and eventually death.
The CDC is encouraging people who
experience symptoms of LCMV to see a doctor. The agency isn't being overly
cautious: In 2005, three
people died after receiving allegedly infected organs from a donor who had purchased a
hamster with LCMV from PetSmart. One of the victims' widows sued PetSmart for negligence. We all knew animals paid the price for the cruelty and filth that are rampant
in the pet trade. Now we see again that consumers might be paying it, too.
This is just one more reason to
avoid sleazy animal dealers by never buying mice,
hamsters, rabbits, fish, birds, or any animal from a pet store or
breeder and by steering others who are considering getting an animal toward animal shelters.
Written by Jeff Mackey
On August 20, Carole Van Wie, the operator of Bunny Magic Wildlife
& Rabbit Rescue, Inc., was charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals. The
charges follow an August 8 raid on the facility—prompted by a PETA complaint—in
which law-enforcement officers seized 222 rabbits. Officials reportedly had to
don masks to rescue the flea-infested and sick rabbits from up to 4 inches of
feces and urine. Investigators apparently found one rabbit dead in a cage and
others denied food or water. According to news sources, seven of the rabbits
rescued that day could not be saved.
Originally posted August 8:
Welcome news! Today,
many, many rabbits are being removed
by Calvert County, Maryland, officials from what could be called a sham "sanctuary,"
Bunny Magic Wildlife & Rabbit Rescue, Inc., in Lusby. The seizure was
prompted by evidence gathered by PETA of systemic—and sometimes fatal—neglect
of animals at the "rescue," following a whistleblower's tip-off.
neglected rabbits’ nails were overgrown. Some caught on wire cage bottoms while
others curled dangerously toward the animals’ sensitive feet.
evidence and a detailed complaint to Calvert County Animal Control and State's
Attorney Laura Martin's Office, which has opened a criminal investigation into Bunny
Magic, run by President Carole Van Wie. We thank law enforcement for acting
promptly and PETA Investigations
& Rescue Fund donors for providing us with the resources needed to follow up
on the whistleblower's tip.
PETA found that
Bunny Magic consisted of little more than Van Wie's garage, which reeked of ammonia,
and a dark shed that was overrun with rodents. It had no paid help to care for its more than 200 rabbits and other animals. Van
Wie deprived rabbits of needed veterinary care and left contagious animals in contact
with others, risking the spread of disease. Photographs show that Bunny Magic was
little more than a hoarding
facility, amassing far more animals than it could properly care for.
Dead rabbits crammed
into a freezer
Scores of rabbits kept in cramped, stacked cages
are fastidiously clean animals) were unable to avoid stepping in their own feces, which was allowed
to accumulate for days
One neglected rabbit,
Rockette, suffered with a severely twisted neck, struggling to stand up on her
own; she was denied nursing and veterinary care and left to languish and
defecate on herself until she finally died. Another rabbit, named George, who
had a months-long respiratory infection that filled his throat with pus, was
rescued from Bunny Magic before PETA met with officials but could not be saved.
A veterinarian recommended that George be put out of his misery.
The rabbits are being rescued only because a courageous
whistleblower reported how horrified he or she was by Bunny Magic, reminding us
that we should never be
silent when animals are in trouble.
Please be sure, before adopting any animals, that you're ready to make a lifetime commitment to caring for them. Beware of hoarders
pretending to operate so-called "no-kill" rescues or sanctuaries who
promise to care for unwanted animals but instead will only subject them to
prolonged suffering and a prolonged, miserable death. If you take an animal to
a shelter, make sure it's
Victories like this one are made possible in part through
the generosity of PETA Investigations & Rescue Fund supporters. To learn more about this vital fund and how
you can support the rescue of more animals, click here!
Following PETA's undercover investigation into Triple
F Farms, a massive ferret-breeding operation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
has fined the company nearly $17,000 for
violating at least eight regulations under the Animal Welfare Act.
The violations were discovered during
USDA inspections conducted in response to PETA's submission of video footage
and other evidence.
Documents recently obtained from
the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division show that Triple F President
Jack Fallenstein also agreed to pay 28 employees more than $28,000 in back
wages to settle 38 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act following a
federal investigation prompted by PETA's complaint to the agency.
PETA's investigation into the ferret
mill lasted nearly four months and documented systematic and often fatal
neglect and abuse of ferrets. We found that Triple F owners, supervisors, and
workers left newborn ferrets for dead when they fell through wire cage bottoms 3
feet onto the filthy concrete floor, housed ferrets in severely crowded
conditions, and deprived ferrets with bleeding rectal prolapses, gaping wounds,
herniated organs, and other painful conditions of veterinary care or
euthanasia. PETA's investigator also saw
ferrets thrown into the trash—and into the facility's incinerator—while still
Triple F sells ferrets to pet stores
and laboratories around the world. Since 2006, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) has had contracts worth more than $1.5 million with the
company. The CDC signed even more contracts with this filthy factory farm after
PETA shared its evidence and the USDA's findings with CDC brass. PETA has
called on the agency to rescind Triple F's contracts and disqualify it from
future contracts. The National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug
Administration, and the Navy have also had contracts with Triple F worth nearly
the director of the CDC's Procurement and Grants Office to stop the agency from
funneling taxpayer dollars to Triple F.
Written by PETA
a huge victory for animals, Judge Greg Parker of Florida's 3rd Judicial Circuit
has ordered that Caboodle Ranch not get back any of the animals who were seized
following a PETA
undercover investigation. Just as importantly, Judge Parker
ruled that Caboodle cannot possess or
have custody of any live animals!
ruling comes after three days of evidence presented by both the Madison County attorney
and Caboodle's attorney. Judge Parker noted that Caboodle never adequately
explained why it informed county officials that it had 400 animals when more
than 600 were seized—fewer than 200 of whom had veterinary records. The judge observed
that numerous lethargic animals, laboring to breathe, were found in desperate
need of veterinary care in a deteriorated building among blood- and
mucus-smeared windows; that there was a "noxious" odor; and that similarly
sick animals were found across the property. In other words, the court
described a reality at Caboodle starkly similar to that documented by PETA's investigator.
Parker ruled that the evidence indicated "clearly and convincingly"
that the animals were not receiving proper care and concluded that Caboodle "is
not able and fit to have custody of the animals."
have been cared for in a temporary shelter and finally given the veterinary
care that they so desperately needed and the compassion that they always
deserved, have been turned over to the custody of the Madison County Sheriff's
We want to thank the Madison County Animal Control Department, the
MCSO, and the 3rd Judicial District of Florida State Attorney's Office for
pursuing this case with the seriousness that it deserves. We're also grateful
to the many humane agencies and responders who have labored tirelessly for
months to care for these animals and give them a clean, safe place to stay. Let's
hope that once they recover, they will find happiness with responsible families
who will give them all the love and attention that they need and deserve.
charges based on PETA's evidence—including a felony count for the neglect of one
cat, Lilly—are still pending against Caboodle founder and operator Craig Grant. Grant and
Caboodle continue to ask the public for donations, including money to defend
Grant against a felony charge of scheming to defraud those who already gave him money!
urge the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to end this by
canceling Caboodle's registration to solicit contributions.
In a landmark move, a North Carolina grand jury has returned indictments for 14 counts of felony cruelty-to-animals against four individuals, including a supervisor, who worked at Professional Laboratory Research Services (PLRS), which was investigated by PETA last fall. This marks the first time in U.S. history that laboratory workers have faced felony cruelty charges for their abuse of animals in a laboratory and only the second time that experimenters have faced criminal prosecution for cruelty (the first stemmed from PETA's first undercover investigation, the groundbreaking 1981 Silver Spring monkeys case).
Mary Ramsey—who had been employed as a PLRS supervisor—and Jessica Detty were each indicted on five counts, while Christine Clement and Tracy Small were each indicted on two counts. The accused are among those caught on video kicking, throwing, and dragging dogs; hoisting rabbits by their ears and puppies by their throats; violently slamming cats into cages; and screaming obscenities at terrified animals. One of those named is the worker seen on video trying to rip out a cat's claws by violently pulling the animal from the fence onto which he or she clung in fear.
The state charges follow extensive citations, by federal officials for serious violations of animal welfare laws, the lab's closure, and the surrender of nearly 200 dogs and more than 50 cats just a week after we released our findings. We'll keep you updated on the criminal case as it progresses.
Written by Alisa Mullins
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.