Yesterday, the Humane Society of the United States assisted the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and Chesterfield County Animal Services in the rescue of 110 cats and kittens from a large-scale alleged cruelty situation at a commercial breeding operation in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
Local authorities served a search and seizure warrant on a residential property on Oct. 9. The Virginia Attorney General’s Office requested the HSUS’s assistance after concerns about the welfare of animals on the property were raised.
The Humane Society of the United States transported the rescued animals to an undisclosed location to receive in-depth veterinary exams and treatment.
“These curious, inquisitive cats deserve proper care, loving homes and an enriching life,” said Laura Koivula, director of animal crimes and investigations for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office and Chesterfield County authorities for intervening on behalf of these cats and we are honored to be part of their new beginning.”
The cats will eventually be available for adoption through HSUS shelter and rescue partners.
The property was the site of a commercial breeding operation that the HSUS included our annual Horrible Hundred report, which is a sample of problematic breeders operating throughout the country. United States Department of Agriculture inspectors have documented more than 50 Animal Welfare Act violations at the facility since March 2023, including serious violations such as failure to provide proper veterinary care, housing incompatible cats together and housing the animals in too-small enclosures that did not meet the minimum requirements set by the AWA.
According to USDA inspection records, one such violation involves a male kitten found during a July 2023 inspection with a malformed chest that was compressed inward, reducing the space for the heart and lungs. According to USDA inspectors, instead of alerting a veterinarian, the owner attempted to treat the kitten by using a toilet paper tube as a makeshift splint. According to a court filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, when inspectors returned on Aug. 9, the kitten exhibited respiratory distress, had active diarrhea that had adhered to the fur of his hind legs, and was thin. The owner again acknowledged being aware of the kitten’s poor condition and that he still had not arranged for veterinary examination. The breeder’s veterinarian notified USDA inspectors that the kitten died later that day.
The operation’s USDA license was suspended in August 2023.