Feds Find Neglect at Guinea Pig Mill—PETA Urges Police to Act

Group Urges Public Never to Buy Animals or Shop at Pet Stores That Sell Them

For Immediate Release:
November 10, 2020

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Mifflintown, Pa.

Armed with damning U.S. Department of Agriculture reports documenting that hundreds of guinea pigs were forced to live in filth and denied potable water at a breeding mill near Mifflintown, PETA sent a letter today to the Pennsylvania State Police urging them to investigate, with a veterinarian in tow, and, as appropriate, pursue cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible for causing animals to suffer.

“These reports reveal a hellhole where hundreds of guinea pigs were being kept amid piles of waste, which contaminate their water,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “This abject neglect is exactly why PETA urges everyone never to buy animals from pet stores or breeders and always adopt from shelters.”

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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Lt. David A. Surra, commander of the Criminal Investigation Section, Troop G of the Pennsylvania State Police, follows.

November 10, 2020

Lt. David A. Surra


Criminal Investigation Section, Troop G

Pennsylvania State Police

Dear Lt. Surra:

PETA requests that your agency promptly investigate and, as appropriate, file criminal charges against those responsible for keeping hundreds of guinea pigs amid their own feces and denying them potable water earlier this year at a breeding mill near Mifflintown operated by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensee Ammon Lapp. A USDA veterinarian documented the neglect and squalor detailed in the attached reports. We urge your agency to have an independent veterinarian with expertise in guinea pig health and welfare with you when you visit the facility to identify any animals in need of care and opine on the conditions of and for the animals there.

On October 6, the federal veterinarian found that a majority of the cages confining 273 guinea pigs contained so much feces and debris that the animals’ bedding was barely visible, which she noted can cause disease in the animals and attract “pests.” The veterinarian instructed Lapp to sanitize the cages at least once every two weeks.

In February, the same USDA agent found that most of the 357 guinea pigs on the property at the time only had access to water that was contaminated with their own feces. She warned Lapp about the dangers of failing to provide the animals with potable water.

This systemic neglect appears to violate 18 Pa.C.S. § 5532, which makes it a crime to deny animals clean and sanitary shelter as well as potable water. Action by the USDA doesn’t preclude criminal liability under state law for federally licensed facilities and workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty against animals there. If you’d like to learn more about the USDA’s findings, please see the relevant contact information for the Riverdale, Maryland, office here. Thank you.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

cc:        Trooper Christopher Fox, Public Information Officer, Troop G

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