On Monday, Oct. 9, the Humane Society of the United States collaborated with the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and Chesterfield Animal Services to save over 110 cats and kittens from a property along Bensley Road. The massive animal rescue was conducted after reports surfaced of a “large-scale cruelty situation” at the commercial breeding enterprise.
Legal complaint alleges severe animal welfare violations at Chesterfield breeding operation
The Humane Society, in a statement, disclosed that the Virginia Attorney General’s Office sought their assistance in response to growing concerns about the well-being of animals on the property.
In August, a federal court received a 39-page complaint alleging that the owners of the Chesterfield cat and dog breeding operation repeatedly failed to meet the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act. The extensive document issued more than 50 citations for various breaches, with the most significant one being the lack of proper veterinary care.
One of the cases cited in the complaint pertains to an inspection report from the United States Department of Agriculture in July. In this report, an inspector claimed that the defendants neglected to inform a veterinarian about a kitten born with a deformed chest. The document highlighted this condition for its adverse impact on heart and lung space.
According to the federal court filing, the defendant’s chosen approach to address the condition involved a failed attempt to stabilize the chest cavity using a toilet paper tube as a splint. Tragically, the kitten passed away two weeks later.
Chesterfield breeders put animals in ‘serious danger’
Not only do the allegations in the complaint point to the business owners’ neglect of seeking veterinary care for their animals, but they also accuse the breeders of subjecting their animals to “serious danger” by keeping them in “unsafe and unsanitary conditions.”
The document also asserts instances in which they housed incompatible cats together and confined animals in cramped enclosures. Furthermore, the complaint alleges that the defendants attempted to administer expired Russian medication to the animals and delayed necessary treatment, indicating a plan to transport the animal to Russia for care.
Numerous USDA inspection reports, provided by the Humane Society of the United States, also highlight concerns related to enclosure spaces and food storage.
License suspension and cat rescue efforts
The Humane Society reported that the operator’s license was suspended in August. Moreover, according to federal court records, the USDA initiated an administrative complaint on Aug. 25, aiming for the permanent revocation of the defendant’s license.
As part of the rescue efforts, the Humane Society transported the cats to an undisclosed facility for treatment and will work alongside both their shelter and rescue partners to make these felines available for adoption in due course.
NBC12 reached out to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office regarding this investigation, but a spokesperson stated they are unable to provide comments on ongoing investigations. In addition, the news broadcaster sent an email to the attorney representing the two business owners, who, in response, declined to make public comments on pending litigation matters.
As we await further developments, it is clear that the welfare of these animals and the enforcement of animal protection laws remain critical concerns that demand attention and action from both authorities and the public.