IONIA, Michigan – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is asking Ionia County prosecutors to investigate after a federal inspector allegedly discovered dead hamsters in more than 50 cages at an Ionia facility.
PETA wrote letter to Attorney Kyle B. Butler saying 190 overcrowded cages were filled with trash, citing this report from the US Department of Agriculture, adding that 1,500 hamsters had “more feces…than litter” inside their cages.
We were told that a pair of hamsters had been ‘sorted for euthanasia’ but were left to slowly die instead.
“If someone left dogs to languish and die in filthy cages, charges would be laid immediately, and these little animals are entitled to the same protection under the law,” says vice president of evidence analysis by PETA, Dan Paden. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation of the dealer responsible for the suffering of these animals and reminding everyone to adopt animals from shelters and rescue groups rather than buying them from breeders or pet stores.”
PETA’s full letter to Attorney Kyle B. Butler reads:
“Dear Mr. Butler:
“I hope this letter finds you in good health. I am writing to request that your office (and the appropriate law enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file criminal charges against those responsible for the persistent, widespread and deadly neglect of hamsters, guinea pigs and others at a pet store operated by Shawn Zielke PETA urges investigators to visit the facility with a health and wellness veterinarian exotic small mammals so that they can identify any animals in need of care and comment on the conditions of and for the animals there.
“United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) personnel documented the neglect at the facility in the attached reports. On January 19, a federal inspector found “petrified dead hamsters” in more than 50 enclosures at the facility. About 190 cages housing hamsters and guinea pigs were “excessively full of feces and urine”, and the majority of the cages – housing more than 1,500 hamsters in total – contained “more feces… than litter”. “Even through the surgical mask worn for inspection, the smell of ammonia and rotting animals [was] overwhelming,” the USDA official wrote.
“On April 12, the inspector returned to the property and found the remains of two hamsters that had been “triaged for euthanasia” but instead left to slowly die. That same day, the federal agent found six degus “unable to move”. [an] pregnant without crossing” a “large accumulation of feces”. About 30 hamsters were crammed into a cage, where each had less than 6 square inches of space.
“This negligence appears to violate Michigan anti-cruelty laws, MCL § 750.50 and § 750.50b. criminal or civil penalty, and doesn’t anticipate criminal liability under state law for acts of animal cruelty.If you would like to learn more about the USDA findings, please see contact information for the office in Riverdale, Maryland, here [t.nylas.com]. Thank you for your time and consideration. Please let us know if we can help you.”
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Department of Cruelty Investigations
Here is the most recent inspection report on the facility from the U.S. Department of Agriculture: