Exposé Reveals Local Dealer Selling Wildlife at Abusive Auction

For Immediate Release:
October 11, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Saginaw Township, Mich.

PETA has discovered that local animal dealer Jeremiah Tietz of Saginaw Tropical Animals sold sloths, squirrel monkeys, and other animals in September at the Mt. Hope Auction’s Mid Ohio Alternative Animal and Bird Sale, where a just-released PETA exposé documented that exhibitors sold animals suffering from severe and obvious injuries and illnesses and uncovered numerous apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

PETA’s investigators saw that Tietz had attempted to sell a fox—who escaped and ran around the auction ring before he was recovered—along with otters, marmosets, and African wildcats. PETA’s eyewitnesses also documented that exhibitors sold animals who had sustained broken legs and open wounds as well as animals who were emaciated, pacing frantically, and biting their cages. Multiple animals were confined without water and were kept in crowded pens and cages, some so small that they couldn’t stand upright or turn around.

In response, PETA submitted a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on October 5 demanding an investigation into the auction, which has been cited for violations of the AWA 36 times—including 19 repeat citations—since September 2022.

This squirrel monkey was among the animals for sale by Tietz at the auction. Photo: PETA

“This auction is a nightmare for the thousands of animals who are sold like pieces of old furniture to people who likely don’t have the resources, knowledge, or desire to care for them properly,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Welfare Debbie Metzler. “PETA is calling on the USDA to throw the book at anyone who brought animals to be auctioned off like trinkets, and the public can help by never purchasing animals from a breeder.”

PETA notes that the auction’s long history of problems related to foxes includes citations for failing to prevent dangerous public contact, signs of stress among foxes, and failure to provide proper ventilation and space to the animals. The auction has also been repeatedly cited for keeping squirrel monkeys in unsafe, inadequate enclosures that risk injury to animals and the public.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

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