FAIRFAX, Va. — An undercover investigator found over a dozen dead rabbits in a freezer at a Virginia pet store.
Now, police are digging for answers, WTTG reports.
The Human Society of the United States launched a five-month investigation, sending a person undercover to secretly record the goings-on at Petland, a pet store in Fairfax.
The worker found at least 14 dead rabbits bagged up inside the freezer over the course of two months. They also took video showing people, possibly customers, dropping and roughly handling rabbits.
It is unclear if the animals in the freezer died of illness or mistreatment.
The HSUS reports that the store was letting sick and injured rabbits die without receiving legally required veterinary care. An employee allegedly told the undercover worker, “We just let them die.”
“It’s heartbreaking to see gentle rabbits treated as if they are no more than 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 the Humane Society of the United States’ Stop Puppy Mills Campaign.
The worker visited a Maryland farm, which the report claims does not have a USDA license but supplies rabbits to the store, and called the conditions inhumane, as well as dirty and overcrowded.
According to WTTG, Petland issued a response to the video and claims:
“Petland is saddened and outraged at this alleged gross violation of Petland’s animal care standards. … We find the timing of the deaths of these rabbits and HSUS’s undercover ‘investigation’ highly suspicious.”
The store is investigating for itself, and Fairfax City Police have already searched the store and seized some animals and records.
The store remains open.