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331 Chinchillas removed from home in Waukesha, WI.

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posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 01:52 PM
Uninhabita ble: Police say 3 children live in home where 331 chinchillas found; parents could face charges

Police were called out to the home shortly after 9:30 a.m. by an individual requesting a welfare check on a female at the home — based on comments she made on social media. While that information was unfounded, police were quickly redirected to deal with the “obvious” living condition issues.
Police say conditions in the home were “deplorable” — calling the home a “hoarder home” based on pathways through the home to negotiate through stacks of clothing and various belongings.

331 living chinchillas were pulled from the home. They were housed in the living room and dining room of the home — which is a rental property, police say.

25 dead chinchillas were found in the garage and a chest freezer in the basement.

Police say the smell of ammonia was so overwhelming that officers contacted the Waukesha Fire Department. Fire officials tested the environment with specialized equipment and deemed the air unsafe to breathe, and the residence uninhabitable.

As I've mentioned on here before, I am a chinchilla breeder. This is absolutely deplorable. This person has been known within the chinchilla breeding community to be a hoarder and have some mental instabilities. This person took her chins to shows, and often showed signs of distress, illness, and poor husbandry. The only reason I'm withholding her name, address, phone number, website, etc... is solely because it hasn't popped up in any of the press I've seen about this.

People like this give people like me a bad name. We have about 120 chins legally housed in reasonable accommodations, with plenty of care. We love and care for our animals, but because of people like this breeder, us and, others like us, get lumped into the same boat of negligence. This is not the case! Pet owners will love whatever chinchilla they purchase, but this is not just about the owner! The pet's quality of life is key too! A good breeder uses healthy, strong, pedigreed lines so they can produce healthy and strong animals that will provide their owners with long, happy, love-filled years.

To find out how you can help these chinchillas, go to the HAWS website or the HAWS Facebook

posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 02:07 PM
a reply to: cmdrkeenkid

Thanks for sharing this sad story, and for promoting the HAWS website as well. I can tell you have a passion for what you do and for these precious mammals we refer to as chinchillas. Keep up the good work.

posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 02:07 PM
"The only reason I'm withholding her name, address, phone number, website, etc... is solely because it hasn't popped up in any of the press I've seen about this." Good call, save yourself the legal headache.

posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 02:20 PM
Wow, that's horrible. I've never had a chinchilla, but I've known people who did, and they're SUCH sweet animals. To have so many like this & have such poor cleaning routines that the air quality ends up THAT BAD is bullcrap, no excuse for it.

The uncle of one of my friends growing up was a parrot breeder, even built an extension on their house to act solely as an aviary for the birds. He got to know another breeder who he eventually turned in after seeing their home -- hundreds of them, crammed into cages too small with just too damn many in them anyway, not enough food, cages not cleaned, etc. He was a very passionate person when it came to birds, he loathed people that couldn't breed or care for theirs appropriately. He saved a lot of birds with that call, they were all malnourished & sick to some degree or another.

posted on Mar, 31 2015 @ 02:27 PM
a reply to: FamCore

Yeah, thanks. It is a sad situation for the children and the animals involved. I don't feel so bad for the breeder, but more that this has been a long time coming.

A bit of a back-story: We have always offered a 30-day health guarantee as long as the chin is taken to the vet for a health check within a week of purchase. If the vet says something is wrong, we'll take the animal back and issue a full refund or another chin. I would never sell a chinchilla that I suspected of being ill, however sometimes there are things that by not being a vet I couldn't diagnose. If the vet says that the chin is healthy and it dies within the 30 days we'll issue a full refund, but we require some proof of death of the chinchilla. Usually this is in the form of something from the vet. Our health guarantee is something that we've stood behind and something that separates us from other breeders.

Back in early 2012 we sold her a few chinchillas. A few months later, she was demanding her money back because some had died. She had refused to take them to the vet at any point while under her care, saying that it's unnecessary for chinchillas to ever have to go to the vet. Then she refused to provide me with anything stating that the chinchillas had died, that the other chinchillas were living and in her care, or more information in general. Having purchased a few chins from us, I made her an offer to meet in the middle. She found this unacceptable.

Since then she has been a thorn in our side one way or another on and off again. She created sock-puppet Facebook accounts and badmouthed us, left negative reviews, disparaged us to other breeders and customers at shows and online, etc... So I find it fitting that, when over a year ago, she tried to contact me, her message ended with saying, "But I do firmly believe in karma."

a reply to: Autorico

Yeah, seems like a good idea. If you go on many of the various chinchilla groups on Facebook or do a little bit of Google searching you can easily find it all. But why insert myself directly in the drama or drag ATS into something legal? Not really worth that kind of hassle to me.
edit on 3/31/2015 by cmdrkeenkid because: Added additional response.

a reply to: Nyiah

They are amazing little critters! So much fun and personality!

And yeah, I have a similar outlook for people. When people come to buy from us one of the first things I ask people if they have another chinchilla already. If they say yes, I ask what gender. I then say I will only sell them the same gender, so as to prevent breeding. If they have a problem with that, I tell them I'm unable to help them out.

Some people think that breeding chinchillas is a great way to make money. Truth is, unless you have a pelting operation with several hundred to thousands of animals you're not going to make money. To care for our herd, we spend about $100/week just on pellets, hay, and bedding. Vet visits for smaller things (ie eye infections, hair rings on males) typically run about $40/visit and happen two or three times a year. Emergency vets visits, which happens about once about every 12-18 months, run from $400 to $1200, depending on the level of care needed.
edit on 3/31/2015 by cmdrkeenkid because: Added further additional response.

posted on May, 12 2015 @ 03:36 PM
Just thought I'd post an update here.

The chins are all still under the care of HAWS, as the owners have still refused to sign over custody. They have been separated by gender since shortly arriving at HAWS, but due to the lengthy gestation period for chins (111 days), many more have been born since then!

This is reportedly costing $2000/day. Despite this, HAWS does have a waiting list for people interested in adopting chins at some point. There has been a lot of public outreach, including some charitable donations from companies.

“This group of cages came form Kaytee. We got 30 cages from them. We’ve gotten donations of cages from the public and we’ve been able to set up some separate wards,” Olenik said.

The cages are used to house male chins.

More of the male cages.

Female cages.

Just some of the chins. They're looking a lot better than they were a month and a half ago!

These pictures obtained from a public Facebook album. You can see these pictures and more at the link. The person who hosted the album said the following:

Chinchilla Villa at Haws. These little creatures are really quite sweet and gentle.
However they are very resistant to being picked up. But they do enjoy human companionship on their terms. And they are quite good at escaping their cages. Houdini would be a great name for most of them! They sleep all day and at night they party hard.

posted on May, 28 2015 @ 11:59 PM
Another update. Looks like this is starting to get some closure. They released the names, and they are who I thought it was.

50-year-old Garrett Rees and 39-year-old Tricia Rees of Waukesha each face five misdemeanor charges including child neglect and mistreatment of animals... If convicted, Garrett and Tricia Rees each face up to nine months in prison and a $10,000 fine on each of the five charges.

Garrett and Tricia Rees will be in court for their initial appearance on June 15th.

And Chinchilla Villa at HAWS has continued to grow.

The chinchillas have been at HAWS since they were seized in March — and they have been multiplying.

“At last count, we had 158 boys. We had about four born last week and eight born the week before... Based on the gestation period of 111 days average, we could be having babies until after the Fourth of July,” HAWS Executive Director Lynn Olenik said.

Waukesha couple charged after 300+ chinchillas pulled from home deemed “uninhabitable” - May 18, 2015

There is also some more silver lining. It looks like, as of a few hours ago, some of the chinchillas are being readied for adoption!

Get the adoption papers ready! After more than eight weeks of legal wrangling, hundreds of chinchillas seized from a Waukesha home can be sold to new owners...

“We are starting with 270 that we can adopt out and we are hoping to get the rest of them soon,” said Smieja.

The babies and moms will go into foster care, while the remaining chinchillas stay on as evidence in the criminal case.

More than 300 seized chinchillas need new homes - May 28, 2015

At eight weeks old, many of the kits born since taken into custody should be at or near the age to go to new homes.

posted on Aug, 18 2015 @ 12:58 PM
Just another update. Of the original 330 chinchillas, about 270 have been adopted.

There were few that they were not allowed to be adopted out because the either had babies or are the babies and need to be weaned off.

There are also 50 that cannot be adopted out because they are still owned by someone else and they are going through court now.

270 of 330 chinchillas have been adopted out of HAWS

All in all, this has cost HAWS about $100,000 since the chins were taken in (source linked below). I'm not sure if that includes the donations of feed, bedding, cages, and more that they have received or if that's on top of all that. Either way, that amount is staggering.

State lacks oversight of exotic animals

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