Feds Find Severe Neglect, Suffering at Local Small-Animal Dealer

'Mummified' Gerbils, Paralyzed Hamster, and More; PETA Asks Public Never to Buy Animals or Shop at Stores That Sell Them

For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2020

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Pleasanton, Texas – Recently published U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports of local small-animal dealer Rancho Raton, Inc., reveal horrific conditions and neglect, including “mummified” carcasses in two gerbil enclosures, an apparently paralyzed hamster, and live animals confined alongside the rotting remains of dead cagemates.

Federal veterinarians documented that no veterinary care had been provided for a hamster who was dragging his or her hind legs, a hamster with a large scab on his or her face, and several wounded guinea pigs. Decomposing carcasses were repeatedly found in multiple gerbil enclosures, and a mother guinea pig and her litter were held in a cage filled with feces. Inspectors noted an overwhelming smell of ammonia from hamsters’ accumulated waste and rodent droppings in rooms where more than 500 guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, and rabbits were kept.

“Small, vulnerable animals were left to languish in filth and pain 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 never buy them from stores, which sell animals supplied by cruel dealers like this one.”

In light of the findings, PETA has asked Atascosa County Attorney Lucinda A. Vickers to investigate Rancho Raton, Inc., and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible for severely neglecting animals there. 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.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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