Small Animals Intended for Adoption Fed to Reptiles Instead

Someone along the way definitely made a mistake here. Around 250 rodents transferred to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona that were intended for adoption were instead fed to snakes and other reptiles.

According to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and the San Diego Humane Society, the issue began back in August 2023 when the Humane Society received a transfer of 323 animals from its San Diego-based organization. When the animals arrived in Tucson, Arizona, they were transferred to Colten Jones in Apache Junction.

Around 60 of the animals were eventually returned by Jones to the humane society but activists within both San Diego and Tucson requested the organizations to find out what happened to the other 250 small animals that remained in Jones’ possession.

An investigation was launched into the incident, which confirmed that Jones operates The Fertile Turtle, a reptile breeding company known for selling both live and frozen animals for reptile consumption. After receiving the animals, Jones used a large number of Guinea pigs and rabbits for reptile feed just a day after they came into his possession.

The fallout resulted in the Humane Society of Southern Arizona firing its CEO Steve Farley and the resignation of Christian Gonzalez, its chief programs officer. Both agencies are now pursuing legal action in the incident although it’s unclear as to what grounds.