PETA to Gov. Holcomb: Dogs and Cats Trapped Inside Local ‘Blood Prison’ Need Your Intervention


For Immediate Release:
April 8, 2024

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Indianapolis – Today, PETA fired off an urgent appeal to Gov. Eric Holcomb, calling on him to expedite an investigation into and push for cruelty charges against The Veterinarians’ Blood Bank (TVBB) after local authorities failed to take meaningful enforcement action for nearly three months following a PETA undercover video that revealed that more than 900 dogs and cats were perpetually confined to barren kennels and severely crowded pens and had their blood taken every three weeks—even as they suffered from infections and cancer.

The appeal comes just after PETA’s findings prompted BluePearl Pet Hospital and VCA Animal Hospitals to stop buying blood from the Jackson County company. PETA’s video footage revealed that some animals at the blood bank had pressure sores and growths from being forced to lie on hard floors without respite and that dogs were wounded after being attacked by stressed kennelmates. Even senior animals and those too small to be used for blood collection were warehoused indefinitely. As one worker said, they “stay here until they die.”

Dogs used for their blood are perpetually confined to barren kennels at TVBB.

Credit: PETA

“The dogs and cats trapped inside The Veterinarians’ Blood Bank are no different from the animals we share our homes with, yet they’re repeatedly stuck with needles and denied any comfort or adequate medical care,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on Gov. Holcomb to step in and help these animals before any more die inside this miserable blood prison.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on XFacebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Holcomb follows.

April 8, 2024

The Honorable Eric Holcomb

Governor of Indiana

Dear Governor Holcomb:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters worldwide, including over 105,000 in Indiana.

A PETA undercover investigation into The Veterinarians’ Blood Bank (TVBB) in Jackson County, where more than 900 dogs and cats are caged for life and repeatedly bled, revealed horrific suffering. As reported in a New York Post article on Friday afternoon, VCA Animal Hospitals and BluePearl Pet Hospital have stopped buying blood from the facility. However, Indiana state and local officials haven’t yet taken any meaningful action to render aid to these animals or hold the company accountable. We know that you care about animals, so we implore you to use your influence to help the animals suffering in this cruel operation.

Just like your family’s beloved companion Topper, every animal is someone. But TVBB treats dogs and cats like living blood bags. Typically every three weeks, workers take from the animals’ jugular vein what would amount to 2 cups of blood from humans. The animals are perpetually confined to barren kennels and crowded pens. Some were elderly, emaciated, and sick with upper respiratory infections, bone cancer, and other health problems. Yet their blood was sold to be given to animals who were critically ill or injured themselves—putting both the unwilling “donors” and the recipients at risk.

Stray kittens as well as dogs and cats seeking good homes and found through online ads and Facebook posts have ended up caged and repeatedly bled at The Veterinarians’ Blood Bank. A manager offered workers $200 for each cat they brought to the facility, saying, “Where you get [them] from is not my business.” She said that she acquired other cats from online ads seeking a good home for them. After a worker brought in kittens she said she had “found off … Facebook,” one died, apparently without having been given veterinary care.

PETA submitted detailed evidence to Indiana authorities between November and December 2023, but this case has stagnated. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) investigated TVBB and corroborated many of PETA’s findings. A BOAH veterinarian who inspected TVBB’s facilities confirmed that animals were bled more frequently and well past the age that blood banking and transfusion safety standards indicate. BOAH also saw fit to refer the case to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for further assessment, yet it glossed over key information and has not yet taken any enforcement action.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has only just assigned an investigator to our complaint regarding the veterinarian who co-owns this crude blood bank, and the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office hasn’t even assigned a prosecutor to review a deputy sheriff’s investigative report on Vivi and Fox—two cats who were denied desperately needed veterinary care by TVBB management—despite receiving the report in January.

Why is Indiana failing to move swiftly to help these animals? Months have passed since PETA released the findings of its investigation, yet animals are still suffering inside TVBB day after day, week after week. Unless officials act, most of these animals will likely die inside this miserable prison.

Your leadership is badly needed and could make a world of difference for these forgotten, suffering animals. Can we count on your help? I’d be happy to provide any additional information or assistance that you may need. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Daphna Nachminovitch

Senior Vice President

Cruelty Investigations Department





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