The San Diego Humane Society, or SDHS, has made the public aware of a situation in which the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) reportedly failed to provide verifiable proof regarding the whereabouts of 250 small pets that SDHS transferred to them in the previous month.
This transfer marked the largest operation of its kind that SDHS had ever undertaken, involving 318 pets comprising rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs.
HSSA's CEO, Steve Farley, asserted that all the pets had been transferred to a discreet, family-run rescue in the Phoenix area, one that preferred to stay out of the limelight. However, as concerns about the fate of these animals grew, HSSA retrieved the remaining pets to assure their well-being. Initially, they reported bringing back 68 pets, but after discrepancies were noted, they revised the number to 62.
As of the latest update, 55 of these pets have been adopted into new homes, but questions about the remaining 250 persist.
It was discovered that San Diego animal activist Dr. Kelly Paolisso took matters into her own hands by adopting 24 of these pets and bringing them back to San Diego, driven by a sense of responsibility to ensure they receive proper care.
Farley continues to assert that the pets found homes through the aforementioned rescue's efforts and highlighted their ability to achieve 55 adoptions in a week, "The only reason I did it was to make sure these animals got what they deserved after all that they’ve been through. These are the only ones that are left of the 318 that we know about."
However, concerns persist, as there is no evidence of outreach efforts from the unidentified Phoenix rescue.
San Diego Humane Society President Dr. Gary Weitzman emphasized that SDHS was unaware that the animals would be placed with a single partner and expressed skepticism about the feasibility of such an arrangement. He stated, “No we did not know they were using one partner, we never would have brought the animals had we known that because it’s almost impossible to conceive of a successful scenario by just using one partner."
Meanwhile, according to Farley, seven remaining animals, specifically hamsters, are being treated for "crusty eyes" and will be available for adoption soon.
The situation underscores the importance of transparency and accountability in animal welfare, with many individuals and organizations seeking to ensure the welfare of these pets. Doubts about HSSA's explanation have been echoed by multiple rescues in Tucson, San Diego and Phoenix, with some questioning the existence of the purported Phoenix rescue.
A petition has garnered over 10,000 signatures requesting verifiable proof of where the 250 animals went.