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USDA Launches Investigation into Ferret Farm

Posted: Oct. 5, 2011, 2:30 p.m. EDT

The United States Department of Agriculture launched an investigation into ferret breeder Triple F Farms of Sayre, Pa., following an inspection in August.

The inspection revealed Triple F was in direct non-compliance with three federal regulations and indirect non-compliance with five federal regulations.

Triple F said it corrected the non-compliance issues detailed in the report and is confident the USDA will give the Triple F “a clean bill of health.”

The USDA performed a follow-up inspection of the facility in September, the results of which were not yet available to the public. Investigators will use information from the inspection reports, along with facts they will gather separately, to determine if Triple F violated the Animal Welfare Act and if any legal action is necessary. Legal action can include a warning, a fine, or suspension or revocation of Triple F’s license. Details of the investigation will not be made public until it is complete.

The USDA performed the initial inspection after receiving a complaint from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals alleging animal abuse and neglect at the Triple F Farms facility.

The USDA report stipulated that no major surgeries, including spaying or neutering of animals, would be allowed at the facility until the conditions of surgical rooms were improved, proper closure techniques of surgical incisions were implemented, and employees began wearing sterile surgical gloves and following aseptic procedures when performing surgery.

The report required Triple F Farms to hire a “sufficient” number of employees at the facility in order to maintain an “acceptable” level of husbandry and animal care by Sept. 24. It also required the breeder to improve its food receptacles in nest boxes and repair at least two PVC pipe feeders that had separated, causing food to spill to the floor rather than be delivered to the animals.
 
The USDA required Triple F Farms to immediately correct its practice of allowing two non-veterinary employees to perform major surgical procedures. The report also stipulated that Triple F Farms must immediately comply with a regulation requiring the breeder to make daily health assessments of all animals at its facility and immediately report any information on problems of animal health to the attending veterinarian. The breeder was also instructed to immediately correct non-compliant practices involving the availability of water to animals at its facility.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Bradford County District Attorney’s office are each conducting investigations into Triple F Farms’ facility, as well.

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