Metro Nashville Authorities Raided Store, Confiscated Documents and Sick Animals After Nationwide Exposé Revealed Systemic Neglect, Abuse
For Immediate Release:
April 13, 2018
Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382
Nashville, Tenn. – Today, the Nashville District Attorney General’s office filed cruelty-to-animals charges against local PetSmart, Inc., managers Gregory Gordon, Kris Stengel, and Tonya Smith. The move comes after PETA provided law-enforcement officials with video footage and photographs of systemic neglect and animal suffering documented by someone who worked at the PetSmart location on Sawyer Brown Road as part of an investigation into practices at three PetSmart stores across the country. The evidence prompted Metro Nashville Animal Care and Control, assisted by police, to execute a search warrant at the store on March 29 and seize severely ill guinea pigs and mice as well as PetSmart records.
“These charges are an important first step toward achieving some measure of justice for the sick, neglected animals who were left to suffer and die without care,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “Authorities did the right thing here, and PETA encourages kind consumers to do their part as well by not shopping at PetSmart until it stops selling live beings and sells only supplies.”
The investigation documented that the defendants repeatedly refused to provide sick, injured, and dying animals with veterinary care, for reasons including an order to “keep costs down” so that they would receive bonuses. The small mammals involved included a guinea pig who suffered from an abscessed wound on his back, dehydration, and painful gastrointestinal stasis; a guinea pig whose abscessed knee joint spread infection to his heart, brain, and elsewhere; and a mouse who languished for more than a month with an inflamed eye and an apparent respiratory infection before dying without having received any veterinary care.
PETA’s exposé—which also included stores in Peoria, Arizona, and Brandon, Florida, where law-enforcement officials have opened an investigation—revealed that PetSmart is stocking animals with diseases, such as ringworm and coccidiosis, that are transmissible to humans, including children. A supervisor was recorded instructing staff not to tell customers that PetSmart buys animals from Sun Pet, Ltd., a massive Atlanta warehouse that was put on probation by the Georgia Department of Agriculture following a PETA investigation in 2010. Additionally, the company—which makes $7 billion in annual revenue—didn’t schedule staff to care for, feed, or water animals over Thanksgiving and Christmas, even though many were sick and needed medication.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that each of the class A misdemeanor charges is punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in prison and a $2,500 fine.