Prompted by PETA, Feds Cite Local Exotic-Animal Auction

Agents Find Dead Ram, Waste-Covered Cages, and Visitor Petting a Coyote

For Immediate Release:
November 17, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Mount Hope, Ohio – After PETA submitted a complaint urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect the Mid-Ohio Alternative Animal and Bird Sale at the Mt. Hope Auction stockyard, the federal agency recently issued 12 citations to the auction for failing to meet the minimum standards required by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). According to an inspection report just obtained by PETA, inspectors who visited the latest auction in September found the following, among other horrors:

  • A small, dead hornless ram in the main sale barn (Staff were unaware of this death until inspectors notified them about it.)
  • An entrapped deer who “started thrashing, pulling, and twisting her body, trying to free her leg” (An inspector helped free the deer, because no staff members were nearby.)
  • Members of the public touching wild animals—including a coyote and a fox—with no staff present
  • A feces-covered enclosure housing three chinchillas and offering “very little space for the animals to move without having to walk through their own excrement”
  • Dozens of animals lacking adequate ventilation
  • Sharp, broken wires found in three rabbit enclosures

“Mt. Hope Auction is a hellhole for stressed animals, and since unsupervised visitors are able to touch wild animals there, it’s only a matter of time before it turns hellish for humans, too,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Welfare Debbie Metzler. “PETA is calling on everyone to stay away from this auction, in which animals are left for dead or made to suffer in unsafe and filthy enclosures.”

PETA notes that Mt. Hope Auction has previously allowed unlicensed dealers to sell animals unlawfully, and the auction has been cited for AWA violations related to handling concerns and unsafe enclosures. Mt. Hope Auction’s sellers have included Pymatuning Deer Park, which relinquished eight animals in its custody following litigation by PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund; Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo, which is included on PETA’s blacklist of highway hellholes; and Jerry Holly, an exotic-animal breeder who has been cited for more than 100 violations of the AWA.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 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