Group Submits Complaints After Leaked Documents Belie Shelter's Claim That It Would Stop Sending Dogs and Cats to Louisiana State University
For Immediate Release:
March 6, 2019
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Baton Rouge, La. – Today, PETA filed complaints with federal agencies after receiving documents from a whistleblower revealing that a Baton Rouge animal shelter has applied to the federal government to become a “class B” animal dealer, which would allow it to sell live animals to Louisiana State University (LSU) for use in deadly anatomy laboratories and possibly other studies.
Notably, Companion Animal Alliance (CAA) submitted its application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in December 2018. Last month the shelter told the media that it had passed a resolution last year ending the practice of selling live animals to laboratories.
If CAA is issued this license, it would be an unprecedented move that would erode public trust in animal shelters, which should be safe havens for lost, abused, and abandoned animals, not a source of cheap dogs and cats for laboratory use. CAA wrote in its application that it plans to bring in $3,500 a year from the sale of dogs and cats to laboratories. The USDA appears to be moving forward with the next steps toward giving CAA a license to become a “dealer,” giving it the legal cover to sell live animals to research facilities.
After PETA revealed last month that LSU purchased at least 70 live dogs from CAA last year, even though the shelter lacked a license allowing it to sell animals to laboratories, CAA stated that its board had passed a resolution to end this practice in October—but in December, it applied for the USDA license.
PETA has sent a letter urging the USDA not to issue this license and has asked the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to suspend its funding to LSU until an investigation has been conducted determining which projects will use these animals, as NIH policy prohibits federal funds from going to projects that use dogs obtained from “class B” dealers.
“No lost or homeless dog or cat deserves to be sold off to LSU to be killed and dismembered in an archaic exercise in an anatomy class—and no real shelter would ever sell them for such a purpose,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on the USDA to deny this application and ensure that this shelter’s animal-peddling business comes to an end.”
Last month, PETA filed complaints alleging that LSU’s secret purchases of live dogs from CAA violated both the federal Animal Welfare Act and Louisiana’s open-records law—and the university may be subject to a fine of $1,594,600 for this unlawful scheme. PETA’s complaint to the East Baton Rouge Parish district attorney also noted possible fraud by CAA, which publicly stated that at least some of the dogs acquired by LSU for deadly animal laboratories had been “adopted” or “released”—a potential attempt to “improve” its statistics and mislead the public.
Copies of the complaints filed today are available upon request.