As if racing their hearts out weren’t enough, some greyhounds are retired to dog blood banks where they lived caged all day long, except for outings to get their blood drawn.
PETA last month exposed one such kennel, The Pet Blood Bank, Inc., in Cherokee, Texas, which houses about 150 retired greyhounds — solely for the purpose of extracting and selling their blood and blood products.
The products, PETA reported, are distributed by Patterson Veterinary Supply, Inc., which did about $3 billion worth of business in 2016.
After the the PETA expose and a story in The Washington Post, Patterson Veterinary Supply announced it would take steps to correct the horrible conditions they described.
But PETA says no steps have been taken, even after they had Paul McCartney send a pleato the company.
Patterson Veterinary Supply initially announced it would terminate business with the The Pet Blood Bank, Inc.
It also promised to support “efforts to ensure that the animals receive appropriate care.” Bu PETA says it has seen no evidence of any such efforts.
The whistle-blower was Bill Larsen, 60, a former employee of the blood bank who went back to work there and was horrified by how conditions had deteriorated.
Larsen, who took the incriminating photos, said he unsuccessfully sought help from local animal shelters and a state agency before contacting PETA. “I just like dogs,” he said, and “hate for any animal to get treated like that.”
The photos show kenneled dogs with open wounds, rotting teeth and toenails curling into their paw pads.
The blood bank was founded in 2004 by Austin entrepreneur Mark Ziller, who said he initially sought volunteers and used a bloodmobile. When that did not turn up enough dogs, the company began using retired greyhounds housed in a kennel on a private farm northwest of Austin, the Post reported.
Ziller said he sold the company in November 2015 to Shane Altizer, whose family owns the farm in Cherokee.
“The Pet Blood Bank had a noble mission: It provided blood for veterinarians to use in lifesaving transfusions,” Ziller tod the Post. After viewing the photos PETA obtained, he added, “To see the animals in that state is beyond depressing.”
Altizer did not deny that the images were taken there, but said they predated his 2015 purchase of the company or were “moment snapshots” unrepresentative of overall conditions now.
Blood banks help save thousands of animals a year, but they are also profit-driven and unregulated.
With more medical procedures being used by vets, transfusions are more often required, and animal blood banks struggle to meet the demand. Only one state, California, regulates such operations and requires annual inspections.
Veterinarian Anne Hale, former CEO of the nation’s first and largest commercial animal blood bank, said she visited the Pet Blood Bank this summer and was “pleasantly surprised” with conditions there. After viewing the PETA photos and video though, she said, “It appears that the facility was ‘cleaned up’ before our touring … I agree that this facility should be addressed. This certainly suggests that regional, state and/or federal regulation is warranted.”
Former Beatle McCartney, who wrote a letter on PETA’s behalf, wants to see all the dogs removed from the facility.
“I have had dogs since I was a boy and loved them all dearly, including Martha who was my companion for about 15 years and about whom I wrote the song ‘Martha, My Dear,’” McCartney wrote. “I join my friends at PETA in asking you to pay these greyhounds back, and to let them retire from the dirt-floored, barren conditions in which they are kept isolated and alone.”
(Photos and video from PETA)
Discarded Greyhounds Imprisoned, Neglected, and Farmed for Their Blood
Imprisoned in an old turkey shed are approximately 150 perpetually penned greyhounds—many already used, abused, and discarded by the notorious dog racing industry—who neurotically spin in circles, jump up and down, cry out, and hide in the jagged old chemical tanks that serve as their only shelter.
At a kennel doing business as The Pet Blood Bank, Inc., in Cherokee, Texas, these animals, who’ve already endured lifelong deprivation, are now being exploited for blood products, most of which are distributed by Patterson Veterinary Supply, Inc., a corporate giant with sales of nearly $3 billion in 2016 alone.
Update: On September 22, 2017, one day after PETA exposed the blood farm, Patterson Veterinary Supply announced that “the conditions and treatment described and pictured … are horrific and unacceptable. … We have terminated business with [The Pet Blood Bank, Inc.], and we will work to support … efforts to ensure that the animals receive appropriate care.”
But for nearly a week, Patterson Veterinary Supply ignored questions about the specific ways in which it would assist the dogs. Then, on September 28, 2017, this multibillion-dollar company, which had pledged—in writing—to help the dogs, posted this cop out on a webpage created just a day earlier, which has nothing on it but this disappointing and unacceptable statement.
Solitary Confinement, Severe Deprivation
With few exceptions, the greyhounds are solitarily confined in unsanitary dirt-floored wire cages devoid of any form of enrichment.
They are deprived of everything that is natural and meaningful to them, including exercise, companionship, and the opportunity to bond with a human family. Out of boredom and despair, they just dig and chew on the old filthy chemical tanks that serve as their shelter, leaving sharp and jagged edges that sometimes injure them. Some dogs pace, spin endlessly in circles, jump up and down, and cry out when approached. Others are so terrified that they cower and lose control of their bladder or bowels.