TYLER, Tex. (KETK) – The Petland store in Tyler kept a dead dog’s body in the freezer and neglected veterinary care for many animals, according to an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States.
Photos and video were taken by HSUS to document mistreatment or neglect. The investigation took place over several months, ending in April.
The investigation revealed the body of black and white Shih Tzu named “Panda” being kept in a freezer.
Panda was part of a litter that got sick after being put in a back room with other sick animals due to overcrowding. The HSUS said that none of the three dogs were taken to a vet in a timely manner and Panda eventually died.
An upset staff member spoke with the undercover investigator saying the owner rarely wants to pay for veterinary care and it costs dogs their lives.
“He doesn’t want to pay that extra money. So really, most of the dogs that go to the vet end up dying because we take them [at the] last minute.”
In a separate incident, a brown Chihuahua began to have seizures but was not taken to a hospital for nearly a week.
The dog was unable to recover and was eventually euthanized.
This investigation was part of a large effort to look into six different Petland stores across the country. The stores were located in Texas, Michigan, Florida, Nevada, Georgia, and Virginia.
“Our investigations have revealed a distressing trend in Petland stores across the country: sick and dying animals who desperately need help being peddled to deceived customers,” said John Goodwin, senior director of the Humane Society of the United States’ Stop Puppy Mills campaign.
Goodwin went on to say that Petland continually relies on cruel puppy mills that put “profit over the welfare of animals.”
You can read more about the HSUSA investigation on their website.
KETK News contacted the Petland in Tyler for comment, and they released this statement:
“Pooches of Tyler assumed ownership of Petland Tyler on May 15, 2019. None of the very disturbing images in the videos are from a store we operated at the time. We pride ourselves on working solely with breeders who exceed industry standards and on the training our staff receives that ensures that our animals receive the very best care.
We invite you to visit Petland Tyler and personally experience how we care for our animals and view the transformation of our store.”
-Luis Marquez, President, Pooches of Tyler.
The statement references new ownership taking over after the conclusion of the investigation. The previous owners of Petland Tyler put the store up for sale. It was then bought by Pooches of Tyler.
The store has come under fire before for neglect of animals.
The SPCA of East Texas has fought for months to try to force the store to close due to its alleged mistreatment of animals.
SPCA asked residents to contact their local officials about the store.
It started in November 2018 when a woman’s post showing an apparent malnourished dog went viral.
The store released a statement at the time saying:
“That is a perfectly good body condition for an active boxer pup. They tend to be pretty lean as pups, but this pup looks healthy.”