Feds Find Neglected Cats, Piles of Garbage at Issaquah Kitten Mill; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
September 7, 2023

Contact:
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

King County, Wash. – A damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report reveals sick cats, accumulations of trash, fly infestations, and piles of dirty litterboxes at Traipse Inc., a local operation run by Teresa Seling that churns out kittens for sale. In response, PETA rushed a letter to King County Prosecutor Leesa Manion asking her to investigate the facility and file applicable charges against those responsible for the neglect.

According to the just-released report, on July 19 local officials noticed that a cat named Topaz appeared underweight and dehydrated, and a veterinary exam later revealed that she was suffering from an infection. On July 24, USDA inspectors documented that loose stool was found in a kennel confining two cats that could indicate serious health issues, garbage receptacles were “overflowing,” trash had accumulated, “numerous” litterboxes were soiled, and an enclosure had feces on the floor and on an exercise wheel. Last year, an inspector reported similar issues, including large piles of equipment left to accumulate and tubs that hadn’t been cleaned. The reports indicate that the facility confines around 30 to 45 cats at a time.

“Filth, sickness, and neglect are standard in miserable breeding facilities like this one, where cats are treated as nothing but commodities,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA urges King County authorities to prosecute those responsible for these cats’ suffering and encourages everyone to adopt from shelters instead of buying animals from pet stores or breeders.”

PETA is pursuing charges under state law because the USDA doesn’t render relief or aid to animals during its inspections and these violations carry no federal criminal or civil penalties.

Although Washington banned most commercial sales of dogs and cats in pet stores in 2021, loopholes in the law allow some stores to continue selling puppies from massive brokers. PETA notes that around 70 million cats and dogs are homeless in the U.S. at any given time and that all breeders add to the overpopulation crisis and deny animals in shelters a chance at finding a home.

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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Manion follows.

September 7, 2023

The Honorable Leesa Manion

King County Prosecutor

Dear Ms. Manion:

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your office—and the proper law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate—investigate and, as suitable, file criminal charges against those responsible for neglecting cats at Traipse Inc., a breeding facility operated by Teresa L. Seling at 13310 252nd Ave. S.E., near Issaquah. PETA hopes investigators will visit the facility with a veterinarian who has expertise in feline health and welfare so that they can identify any animals in need of care and opine on the conditions of and for the approximately 30 to 45 cats there.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors documented neglect at the facility in the attached reports, the latest of which was just made public. On July 19, unidentified local officials found that a cat named Topaz appeared underweight and dehydrated. A veterinarian confirmed those suspicions and determined that the cat was afflicted with an infection. On July 24, a USDA veterinarian found loose stool in an outdoor kennel confining two cats and ordered that both animals receive appropriate care.

The same day, inspectors found fecal material on the floor of a cat enclosure, “overflowing garbage receptacles” near food for the facility’s cats, “numerous soiled litter boxes,” accumulations of “trash and other waste” near cats’ housing and elsewhere, and “numerous flies … throughout the facility.” Similarly, in May 2022, USDA staff found “a large amount” of unidentified equipment left to accumulate near cats’ housing and several receptacles in need of cleaning.

These findings may violate RCW 16.52.207(2)(a). 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 for neglecting animals under state law. If you’d like to learn more about the agency’s findings, please see the contact information for its Riverdale, Maryland, office here. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

PETA

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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

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