55 Citations in 11 Months: PETA Urges Feds to Shut Down Local Animal Breeder

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Prospect, Ohio – A raccoon with a bleeding stump instead of a foot, animals so thirsty that they fought over access to water, and foxes attempting to climb the walls in distress: That’s what federal inspectors recently found at the facility operated by local animal breeder and dealer Craig Kokas, who has received 55 citations this year alone for failing to meet even the minimum care standards required by the federal Animal Welfare Act. In response, PETA fired off a letter this morning to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling on it to revoke his license and seize all the suffering animals.

According to the newly released report, Kokas didn’t have an attending veterinarian available to treat animals at the facility—and numerous animals needed veterinary care, including seven minks with open wounds, alpacas with hair so matted that their health couldn’t be evaluated, and a skunk with missing teeth and swollen gums. Most of the hundreds of animals there were excessively thirsty, with completely dry water containers. When finally given water, the animals drank desperately.

The raccoon with the missing foot was kept in a wire-bottom cage, exacerbating her injury, and outdoor enclosures housing 94 animals didn’t provide adequate shelter from the elements—even as temperatures dipped into the 30s, with wind gusts so severe that tree limbs had fallen onto enclosures. Foxes, with nowhere to hide from each other or from the USDA’s inspectors, froze in place, growled, and tried to climb the enclosure’s walls. The report notes that the “animals suffer psychological and physical harm under these conditions.”

“Animals in Craig Kokas’ hellhole have been denied their most basic necessities, including shelter from the cold and care for open wounds,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA is calling on the USDA to confiscate these animals and get them the care they urgently need.”

The report also notes that numerous enclosures were in disrepair, with holes and sharp points that could injure the animals. Feces piled up as high as a half-foot inside and under many animal enclosures, and piles of empty cat food cans, wire fencing, and other junk littered the property.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind