Feds Find Fatally Neglected Hedgehog, Filth at Local Breeding Operation

Dozens of Animals Left With Urine-Soaked Bedding; PETA Asks Public Never to Buy Animals or Shop at Stores That Sell Them

For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2020

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Dickson, Tenn. – Newly published U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports of a local small animal–breeding mill operated by James Stephenson of Dickson County reveal horrific conditions and neglect, including that one hedgehog was found dead in an enclosure after no one noticed that she had eaten little or nothing for at least three days.

A federal veterinarian also repeatedly noted a distinct ammonia odor in the room from bedding soaked with urine and soiled with feces—and the 230 hedgehogs were fed on the soiled bedding, contaminating their food. Eight of the hedgehogs’ water bottles had “green growth” inside them, which the USDA agent noted could cause the animals to refuse to drink or contract disease.

“Sensitive, fragile hedgehogs were left to languish in their own waste and die in this hellhole,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “Because of suffering like this, PETA urges people always to adopt animals from shelters and rescue groups and never buy them from pet stores, which sell animals from mills like this one.”

In light of the findings, PETA has asked District Attorney General Ray Crouch Jr. to investigate the breeding mill and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible for severely neglecting hedgehogs. The group’s letter is available upon request.

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, please visit PETA.org.

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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