“Do you have the ability to freeze off a bunch of guinea pigs and/or rabbits?”
TUCSON, Arizona––A copy of a text message forwarded to KVOA News 4 chief investigator Chorus Nylander clarifies the probable fate of more than 300 missing guinea pigs, rabbits, and other small mammals who were transferred on August 7, 2023 from the San Diego Humane Society to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
Reported KVOA, “The man who received the text does not want to be identified. He said he received the text from Colten Jones,” owner of The Fertile Turtle reptile breeding farm, “on August 8, 2023, the day the Jones family received the shipment of animals” from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, soon after the Humane Society of Southern Arizona accepted delivery of the animals from the San Diego Humane Society.
Breeds pythons, sells snake food
The Fertile Turtle, though the name indicates turtles are a specialty, is perhaps best known for breeding multiple varieties of python, all of whom might eat small mammals.
The Fertile Turtle reportedly also sells both live and frozen small mammals as food for reptiles.
Asked the text message allegedly sent by Colten Jones, “Do you have the ability to freeze off a bunch of guinea pigs and/or rabbits? I don’t have the manpower or labor to be able to do it in time for the show and it’s too much time for me.”
Updated Sarika Sood of KVOA, “According to our source, the ‘show’ referred to was a reptile show in Pomona, California, a few days later.”
“We have a responsibility to seek answers”
Responded the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and San Diego Humane Society in a joint statement, “As we now know, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona transferred 323 animals to an individual named Colten Jones. Ultimately 62 animals were returned to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and we have worked since their return to determine the outcome for the missing animals.
“We have a responsibility to seek definitive answers about the fate of these animals. We have consistently stated our commitment to pursuing legal action when warranted.
“In light of this recent information, the San Diego Humane Society will collaborate with its legal advisors to advance both civil and criminal proceedings, and the Humane Society of Southern Arizona is considering legal action as well.
“Additionally,” the joint statement said, “The Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s internal investigation has concluded, and its report will be published in early December. The San Diego Humane Society’s investigation is ongoing.
“These investigations and corresponding recommendations are critical to ensure this tragedy never happens again and that those who are responsible are held accountable.”
Former Humane Society of Southern Arizona chief executive officer Steve Farley and former chief of operations Christian Gonzalez were terminated in late September 2023.
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