Small Animals Sent To Animal Shelter For Rescue Fed To Reptiles Instead

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona is under fire after an investigation uncovered that nearly 250 rodents that had been transferred to the facility for rescue had instead been fed to snakes and reptiles, reports.

The San Diego Humane Society performed an investigation that uncovered the truth about what had become of the smaller animals after months of back and forth.

In August 2023, a total of 323 animals were sent to the Humane Society branch in Tuscon.

The San Diego branch of the animal shelter had reached capacity and could no longer accommodate the rodents, but the southern Arizona location offered them a place.

However, on the same day they arrived, the small animals were transferred to Colten Jones in Apache Junction, according to a report. Jones eventually returned 60 of the animals, but there was no sign of the others.

Animal activists wanted to know where the other 250 animals were.

Supporters in San Diego and Tucson pressured the facility to reveal what was going on with the other 250 animals that Jones had failed to return to the Humane Society, especially since it was unclear why they’d been handed over to him to begin with.

After Steve Farley, the CEO of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, was fired from his post and Christian Gonzalez, its chief programs officer resigned, the truth slowly but surely came to light.

An outside investigation eventually brought to light a text message from Jones in which he admitted he was seeking help to process a bunch of Guinea pigs and rabbits for reptile feed the day after they were signed over to him.

It was later revealed that Jones runs a business called The Fertile Turtle which breeds reptiles and sells animals, both alive and frozen, for reptiles to chow down on.

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Now, the Humane Society is considering legal action.

It’s unclear what legal grounds they would have to do so, but a report has been filed with the Tucson Police Department. Anyone with further information is encouraged to contact the force with reference number #P2311020076.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill