Fairfax City police have arrested two former managers after a six-month investigation into the mistreatment of rabbits at a local Petland store.
The Humane Society of the United States investigation earlier this year revealed 14 dead rabbits piled up in a freezer and hidden under a table in a backroom at the store, which was located at 9404 Main St. It has since closed.
The humane society used an undercover investigator to work at the store for two months, finding the dead rabbits and that the store had no policy requiring medical care for the rabbits.
“Virginia law mandates veterinary care for rabbits kept as pets to prevent suffering or disease transmission, but several employees indicated that it was regular store practice to let sick or injured rabbits die rather than providing such care,” the humane society said in a news release.
The managers — Kareem Koshok, 38, of Sentry Ridge Road in Manassas and Ayman Koshok, 43, of Rush Street in Fairfax — were charged with three counts each of animal cruelty and released on unsecured bonds, Fairfax City police said in a news release.
In a statement sent to WTOP, Petland officials say they were “shocked and horrified” by the humane society’s findings.
The corporate office launched its own investigation of the store, which is a franchise owned by a local family, the statement said.
The incident isn’t the first time Petland has been named in the mistreatment of rabbits. In 2009, a worker at an Ohio Petland was arrested after she posted a Facebook photo of herself with two injured rabbits she drowned at the store. The employee later pleaded guilty to two counts of animal cruelty.