Updated at 9:56 am: Revised to add comments from an HSUS spokesperson.
The findings of a Humane Society investigation into conditions in a Frisco Petland were “irresponsibly inaccurate and clearly uneducated,” a franchise spokeswoman said.
Petland officials took issue with claims made recently in a 17-page Humane Society of the United States report, which found that several puppies were malnourished, sick and housed in poor conditions, and that some dead animals had been kept in a freezer.
Petland disputed all of the claims.
The undercover investigator “repeatedly claims the puppies are sick and have not been seen by a veterinarian,” Elizabeth Kunzelman, Petland’s director of public affairs, said in an email. “The store has a consulting vet. EVERY puppy is checked upon arrival at the store and the vet comes in weekly for follow-up checks.”
What the Humane Society calls crowded conditions, Kunzelman said, was only a temporary situation during clean-up procedures.
In addition, food consumption is monitored daily by kennel staff and veterinarians, Kunzelman said.
“Breeds like Rottweilers and Weimaraners have sudden growth spurts, but that’s not an indication of malnutrition,” she said.
Petland retained his toughest conviction for allegations that a sick but still alive rabbit was placed in a freezer and later died.
“Finally, the investigator makes patently inaccurate and defamatory claims that a rabbit was placed in the freezer while still alive, without any first-hand knowledge or evidence,” Kunzelman said in his email statement. . “This is absolutely not true. This type of allegation is unacceptable and demonstrates how far the HSUS will go.”
A Humane Society official said the pet company misinterpreted the findings of the investigation into the rabbit’s treatment.
“They said [WFAA-TV] that we said they put the bunny in the freezer while it was still alive, ”said John Goodwin, senior director of the HSUS Stop Puppy Mills campaign. “We were very careful not to say that, but this statement comes from our investigator. overhearing conversations from employees detailing just how humane this type of treatment is, which somehow involves them putting it on while they are still alive. “
Goodwin also said that, based on investigators’ findings, veterinary consultations were often superficial and sometimes lasted less than a minute.
The Humane Society investigation used hidden cameras and took place in July and August. It ended when the investigator fell ill with a bacterial infection that can spread between animals and humans.
Kunzelman, spokeswoman for Petland, said Frisco Police and Animal Control Services investigated the allegations and made frequent, unannounced visits that found nothing that violates state laws on cruelty to animals.
Police issued a citation to the store owner for failing to provide proof of veterinary care under a city ordinance, but nothing in the store indicated a clear case of animal cruelty, reported WFAA-TV (Channel 8).
The Frisco survey was the seventh for an organization’s Petland store in less than a year. Sick puppies were found in back rooms in all seven wards, and dead animals in freezers were found in five, according to inquiries.