Authorities in Nashville, Tennessee, Are Considering Seizing Half a Dozen Animals Suspected of Being Abused at a Local PetSmart Shop
The Six Animals – a Guinea Pig, Mice and Hamster – After being dropped off at a PetSmart store on Friday, veterinarians at Metro Animal Care and Control, a unit of the Nashville Health Department, returned to a veterinary clinic on Thursday. All were taken out of business because they were "sick, injured, or had clinical signs," Lauren Bluestone, agency director, told CBS MoneyWatch.
A spokesperson for the Nashville District Attorney confirmed the investigation and the criminal complaint is being considered. The goal of the potential charges is unclear.
With the support of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and the Procuratorate, the Animal Welfare Agency issued a search warrant after the city received a video and photos from the Animal Ethics Treatment Group that showed animals in the store "We have not had enough care "said Brian Todd, a spokesman for the city's health department.
Investigators are still gathering evidence and sifting through the business records received in Thursday's raid and hoping to make a final decision. Said Bluestone.
Dan Paden, Head of Evidence Analysis at PETA, said the organization believes that the business repeatedly refused to organize veterinary care for sick animals.
The video that triggered the raid was secretly recorded by a PetSmart employee who works on behalf of PETA. Asked in the video why the animals were not groomed, the PetSmart staff said they must limit spending to receive quarterly bonuses.
The shop involved in the raid declined to comment. PetSmart, America's largest pet store retailer with more than 1,500 stores, said in an e-mailed statement that employees were told to bring sick animals to the vet when needed, and that "no negative impact on a business team" would have been pet care.
"We are always committed to first taking care of the needs of the animals," PetSmart said in a statement. "We empower our business associates to do the right thing for all pets, including the instruction to see every sick animal immediately at a vet when needed, and there is no adverse impact on a business team taking every step of caring for pets They take these allegations very seriously and work closely with the Bellevue authorities to obtain the relevant facts, and we also investigate the validity of the video, as some of the footage is several years old. "
The store, raided by the authorities is located in Bellevue, a neighborhood in Nashville.
PetSmart also attracted unwanted media last month when a video about a dog mistreated by a PetSmart groomer in another store became viral. The company later said that it fired the employees involved. In January, PetSmart said it had investigated the deaths of two dogs and the injury of another after taking away the canines for grooming in one of its New Jersey stores, according to published reports. PetSmart said the incidents had nothing to do with each other.
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