A secret investigation by the Humane Society of the United States traced dead rabbits from freezers at a pet store in Virginia to a farm in Centreville, Maryland, according to the Humane Society.
Humane Society investigators discovered at least 14 rabbits that had been crammed into freezers at the Fairfax, Va., Petland store during a five-month undercover operation, according to the Humane Society. The report claims the sick rabbits were not treated by veterinarians and were instead left to die at the store, which has more than 80 locations across the country.
The Humane Society conducted the survey between November 2018 and March 2019. Many rabbits sold at the Petland store were traced to the Wagner Farm in Centerville. Owner John Wagner told investigators he sold about 60 rabbits each month to the Fairfax Petland store, according to the report.
A Humane Society investigator who visited the undercover farm found about 200 rabbits “kept in poor conditions, including a large white rabbit lying on top of a cage that was already dead and others injured”, indicates the report.
“The conditions were exactly like those found in puppy mills, but in this case we found a rabbit mill,” the report said.
The report also claims that Wagner Farm does not have the required license from the United States Department of Agriculture to raise rabbits.
The Humane Society has shared the results of its investigation with law enforcement officials, according to the organization.
Fairfax City Police and animal control officers executed a search warrant at the pet store after police conducted a routine inspection of the store Monday. The warrant was issued based on “failure to provide adequate care and treatment to pets,” according to the police department. Police and animal control seized records and animals from the store, the police department said in a news release Tuesday.
Neither Wagner nor a Petland store manager could be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The Humane Society has urged prospective pet owners to consider the special needs of rabbits before bringing a rabbit home, especially as Easter approaches.