Breaking: Tennessee PetSmart Managers Charged With Cruelty Following PETA Exposé

Authorities Raided Store, Confiscated Documents and Sick Animals After Exposé Revealed Suffering at Three Stores, Including in Brandon

For Immediate Release:
April 13, 2018

Contact:
Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Brandon, Fla. – Today, the Nashville District Attorney General’s Office filed cruelty-to-animals charges against three managers of a Nashville PetSmart, Inc., store. The move came after PETA provided law-enforcement officials with video footage and photographs of systemic neglect and animal suffering documented by someone who worked at the store during an investigation into three PetSmart stores across the country, including one near the company’s Arizona headquarters and one in Brandon, where officials have also opened an investigation.

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. 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.

“These charges are an important first step toward achieving some measure of justice for the sick, neglected animals at PetSmart’s Nashville store,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges Florida officials to follow Nashville’s lead and hold accountable the PetSmart workers who left animals to suffer and die without care.”

Despite having ample notice of Hurricane Irma, managers at the Brandon store failed to evacuate animals during the storm, and workers returned four days later to find that several animals had escaped, others had died, and approximately 30 small mammals were without water. Workers also deprived a critically ill bird of veterinary care for at least five days as the animal starved, suffered from dehydration, and slowly died. A store manager admitted that “every single one” of the animals at PetSmart came from “terrible” “pet” mills and that PetSmart is “a horrible place for animals.”

The exposé 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. In addition, PetSmart—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.

Broadcast-quality video footage from PETA’s nationwide investigation is available here. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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Media Response Team.

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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