Breaking: Tennessee PetSmart Managers Charged With Cruelty Following PETA Exposé

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

For Immediate Release:
April 13, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Peoria, Ariz.

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 in Peoria, near the company’s Phoenix headquarters, and one in Florida, 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 encourages kind consumers to do their part as well by not shopping at PetSmart or any store that sells living beings.”

At the Peoria store, a supervisor told the eyewitness that workers didn’t take sick and injured animals for free in-store veterinary exams because “they don’t want animals [in a back room] to take care of.” Solitary hamster species were group-housed, leading to fights, and a supervisor advised killing them by “squeez[ing] as hard as you can.” Another worker referred to a stressed hamster as a “[d]umb b*tch” and asked the animal, “What the f*ck is wrong with you?” The eyewitness was also instructed not to inform customers that the store was selling fish suffering from ich, a highly contagious disease that would infect other fish in an aquarium.

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

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