Police seized documents and bodies of dead animals from a pet store in Virginia after an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States revealed the bodies of 14 dead rabbits in the store’s freezer.
Over a period of months, HSUS investigated Petland, Inc.’s location at 9404 Main St. Suite A in the city of Fairfax, using hidden cameras to document possible animal abuse.
Their findings included a freezer full of more than a dozen dead rabbits, which Petland staff said had become ill and “just let them die…” according to an HSUS press release. Dead rabbits had accumulated over a period of two months.
HSUS said it discovered Petland staff had a standard practice of not providing veterinary care to sick or dying rabbits.
An HSUS investigator also found a dead rabbit in a plastic basket under a table in a back room, according to the news release. When asked why the dead rabbit was there, an employee replied, “That’s where we hide them.”
In another case, a customer brought a rabbit back to the store after he grabbed it and died shortly after purchasing it. Petland staff simply added the dead rabbit to the pile of bodies in the freezer and did not investigate the cause of death, according to HSUS.
HSUS also traced Fairfax Petland’s main rabbit supplier to Wagner’s Farm in Centreville, Maryland. The farm owner told HSUS he sells about 60 rabbits a month to the Fairfax Petland location. This would require the farm to obtain a USDA license, which HSUS could not find any records of the farm operation.
Petland is the largest chain of pet stores in the United States that still sells puppies and rabbits, according to HSUS.
“It’s heartbreaking to see sweet bunnies treated like they’re just stuffed toys. No pet deserves to be treated like a disposable product, and it’s time for Petland to change its business model to reflect that,” said John Goodwin, Senior Director of HSUS’ Stop Puppy Mills Campaign, in the release. company press releases.
Fairfax City Police have yet to file charges as the matter is still under investigation.