Feds Find Neglect at Local Guinea Pig Mill—PETA Calls For Criminal Charges.

For Immediate Release:
July 27, 2023

Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Williamsport, Pa. – A recent damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report just received by PETA reveals that guinea pigs were denied veterinary care for “yellowish discharge” surrounding one animal’s eye and emitting from a large wound near another animal’s ear at a Lycoming County breeding facility owned by Benuel K. Stoltzfus—the latest in a string of animal welfare violations at the operation. In response, PETA sent a letter on Thursday to District Attorney Ryan C. Gardner urging him to investigate, have a veterinarian with expertise in guinea pig health visit the mill with investigators, and file cruelty charges under state law against those responsible for the neglect.

“Suffering animals went without veterinary care at this hellish breeding mill, even after warnings from the feds,” says PETA Vice President Daniel Paden. “This repeated neglect is why PETA urges everyone to adopt from animal shelters and never buy animals from breeders or pet stores.”

In October 2021, the same federal veterinarian found seven guinea pigs with “circular areas of hair loss and flaky skin or scabs around the nose, eyes, and forehead”—but the mill owner had neither treated the animals nor contacted a veterinarian about them. PETA is now pursuing charges under state law because the USDA does not render relief or aid to animals during its inspections and these violations carry no federal criminal or civil penalties.

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 Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Gardner follows.

July 27, 2023

The Honorable Ryan C. Gardner

Lycoming County District Attorney

Dear Mr. Gardner:

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your detectives (and the proper law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and, as suitable, file criminal charges against those responsible for neglecting guinea pigs at a breeding facility operated by Benuel K. Stoltzfus at 541 Little League Rd. near Jersey Shore. PETA hopes investigators will visit the facility with a veterinarian who has expertise in guinea pig health and welfare so that they can identify any animals in need of care and opine on the conditions of and for the nearly 1,100 animals there.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarian documented neglect at the facility in the attached report, which was just made public. On June 16, she found two guinea pigs “with health conditions requiring treatment,” neither of whom the suspect(s) had observed or tended to. One guinea pig’s right eye was surrounded by “yellowish discharge.” Another guinea pig had an approximately 1-inch circular wound, which was emitting yellow discharge, near his or her right ear.

On October 28, 2021, seven guinea pigs were found at the property in need of veterinary treatment. The young guinea pigs had “circular areas of hair loss and flaky skin or scabs around the nose, eyes, and forehead.” According to the veterinarian, Stoltzfus had observed these conditions but had neither treated the animals nor contacted a veterinarian about them.

These findings may violate Pennsylvania’s animal neglect statute, 18 Pa.C.S. § 5532, which requires individuals to provide animals under their care with “[n]ecessary veterinary care.” The USDA renders no aid or relief whatsoever to animals on site, and these reports carry no criminal or civil penalties and don’t preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of animal neglect. If you’d like to learn more about the USDA’s findings, please see the contact information for its office in Riverdale, Maryland, here.

Thank you for your time and consideration and for the difficult work that you do every day. Please let us know if we can assist you.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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“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