Video images taken by an undercover investigator with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA ) at the Professional Laboratory and Research Services (PLRS) facility in North Carolina documented laboratory workers throwing, hitting, kicking and otherwise abusing the animals. In two highly disturbing instances, workers withheld pain relief to a dog having his teeth pulled, and attempted to rip off a cat's claws by repeatedly and violently yanking the animal from a chain fence to which the cat clung in fear.
Following PETA's exposé, the USDA cited the facility for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and it was closed down. All of the rabbits were euthanized and AWI led a successful adoption effort of the hundreds of dogs and cats at the lab (see Fall 2010 AWI Quarterly).
And now the final chapter is playing out: On July 5, a grand jury indicted four former PLRS employees for felony animal cruelty - the first such indictment of laboratory staff in U.S. history.