Animal welfare advocates demand answers as over 300 animals transferred from California to Arizona to find new homes are believed to have been sold as feed for reptiles.
In a devastating turn of events, more than 300 animals that were transferred from the San Diego Humane Society to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona to find new homes have likely met a tragic fate as reptile food. The incident has sparked outrage among animal welfare advocates, who are demanding answers about how this could have happened. The organizations involved have taken swift action, with one executive being fired and another resigning, and investigations are underway to determine the cause of this heartbreaking outcome.
A Desperate Move to Find Homes
In August, the San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) made the decision to transfer 323 small animals, including guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, and rabbits, to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA). The SDHS had been operating at overcapacity for months and reached out to the HSSA for assistance in finding new homes for these animals. The transfer was seen as a lifeline for these creatures, offering them a chance at a better life.
A Mysterious Detour
The animals arrived safely in Tucson on August 7, according to the SDHS. The organizations involved were informed that the animals would be transported to an anonymous, local private rescue that had a successful partnership history with the HSSA. However, concerns about the animals’ fate quickly arose among employees and animal welfare advocates, prompting investigations by both organizations and local authorities.
Reptile Food for Sale
A joint statement from the SDHS and HSSA revealed that over 300 animals were transferred to a man named Colten Jones, the owner of Fertile Turtle, a reptile farm business that sells live and frozen animals as feed for reptiles. A text message obtained by a local Tucson television station showed Jones asking a source if they had the ability to freeze guinea pigs and rabbits, indicating his intention to use these animals as feed instead of finding them adoptive homes.
Seeking Justice and Answers
The SDHS and HSSA have expressed their heartbreak and commitment to seeking justice for these animals. The organizations have initiated legal proceedings and are collaborating with their legal advisors to pursue both civil and criminal actions against those responsible. The Tucson Police Department is also investigating the incident, and anyone with information is encouraged to come forward.
Accountability and Rebuilding Trust
In the wake of this heartbreaking incident, both the HSSA and SDHS have taken steps to address the failures that led to the animals’ tragic fate. The HSSA fired its chief executive, Steve Farley, and accepted the resignation of its chief operating officer, Christian Gonzalez, who reportedly oversaw the animals’ transfer. The organizations are now focused on rebuilding trust with their communities and ensuring transparency in their operations.
Conclusion: The transfer of over 300 animals from the San Diego Humane Society to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona was meant to offer these creatures a second chance at finding loving homes. However, a shocking turn of events has revealed that these animals likely ended up as reptile food instead. The incident has sparked outrage and demands for accountability, with investigations underway to determine how this tragedy occurred. As animal welfare advocates and the organizations involved seek justice for these animals, it is a stark reminder of the importance of transparency and responsible practices in the world of animal rescue.