Pet supplier to local pet store under criminal investigation over PETA video



Exotic pet dealer near Fort Myers obtained animals from notoriously cruel breeding mill

For immediate release:
March 1, 2021

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

pi. Myers, Florida – As a result of the release of infiltration images showing chinchillas suffering from open wounds, a severed limb with exposed bones, chronic eye diseases, severe mats and other painful conditions untreated at Moulton Chinchilla Ranch (MCR), PETA has sent a letter to the owner of Reptile Express. Donald B. Chilton today, asking the Lehigh Acres-based pet distributor to reconsider their relationship with the massive ranching plant near Chatfield, Minnesota.

“No reputable company would partner with a breeding facility whose long-standing documented animal welfare violations have resulted in more than 100 federal citations,” said PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovich. “This abject neglect is exactly why PETA is calling on Reptile Express to immediately reconsider its relationship with this notoriously cruel supplier and urge the public never to buy animals from pet stores or breeders.”

A PETA eyewitness who worked at the supplier Reptile Express gathered evidence showing that nearly 1,000 chinchillas were confined in cramped and exposed wire cages and denied veterinary care for abscesses and pus-filled eyes , among other serious conditions. Based on the evidence from PETA, the authorities executed a search warrant and opened a criminal investigation, and more than 35,000 people across the country have joined the group’s call for Reptile Express to stop buying and selling chinchillas. Atlas Pet Supply, near Minneapolis, has abandoned MCR as a supplier and is reassessing its sale of any chinchilla after its CEO called conditions there “entirely unacceptable.”

PETA – whose motto says, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse” – opposes speciesism, a supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, Where Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Chilton follows.

March 1, 2021

Donald B. Chilton


Reptile Express, Inc.

Dear Mr. Chilton:

We respectfully request your immediate attention to the disturbing findings of our secret investigation into your supplier, Moulton Chinchilla Ranch (MCR), a massive ranching plant near Chatfield, Minnesota. The situation at MCR is an emergency that demands your swift action.

I invite you to watch our survey sequences, which reveals that MCR chinchillas were denied veterinary treatment for swollen and pus-filled eyes; severely overgrown teeth; painfully matted coats; a burst breast abscess; and other distressing conditions. A chinchilla had a mutilated foot, but MCR’s owner denied him all treatment for the excruciating injury, which left a bloody stump with exposed bones. The PETA investigator rescued her and rushed her for emergency veterinary care, but her leg had to be amputated. MCR chinchillas have also been infected with Streptococcus zooepidemicus, a highly contagious pathogen transmissible to humans that causes conjunctivitis and abscesses.

After being alerted to MCR’s chronic deprivation and misery, the CEO of Atlas Pet Supply, near Minneapolis, called conditions there “completely unacceptable,” abandoned the plant as a supplier and re-evaluate the sale of chinchillas. The vet who runs the veterinary technician program at a college near MCR told us that she was “shocked” and “disturbed” by the pictures and that the school would no longer take its students there on field trips.

Over 35,000 compassionate people across the country have joined with us in asking you to help end this suffering and stop getting chinchillas. Could you immediately reconsider your relationship with MCR and tell us about your plans for selling chinchillas in the future?

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sarah Deffinger

Evidence Analyst

Department of Cruelty Investigations



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