ROBINSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Allegations of animal abuse at a local pet shop posted to social media by a former employee have gone viral, forcing the store to close early on Monday.
Customers arrived at the Petland in Robinson Township Monday evening to find the doors locked and the store closed.
A sign in the window said “Due to harassment and personal threats towards employees, we are unable to open today. The animals are currently still being cared for.”
The store starting receiving threats after a former employee claimed the animals inside were sick and poorly treated.
“The death threats and whatnot, that’s a bit drastic, but I do think something needs to be done with the store,” said Katelyn Cerciello, the former employee.
Cerciello quit after a month of working at the store, but not before she took pictures of animals she considered mistreated. She posted those pictures to Facebook and the post quickly went viral.
“I just couldn’t deal with it anymore,” she said. “I’d come home in tears some days.”
In her post, Cerciello says the owner of the Petland in Robinson would “refuse vet care for puppies.”
Cerciello also claims there were so many mice living in one tank that they started to eat each other.
Her post goes on to say: “Hopefully the public will soon start to understand the cruelty that goes on at Petland,” and she claims that puppies are coming from puppy mills.
This is not the first time that accusations have been made against the Petland in Robinson. In 2012, a dog owner went to court claiming Petland sold him a sick boxer.
Back in 2008, Jeff Koury, the owner of the Robinson Petland told KDKA that his dogs are vet checked two or three times before they arrive at his store.
“If they do not pass these screens by these individual vet checks, they do not ship to my store,” he said in 2008.
But Cerciello tells a different story in the blog she’s now created.
“It needs to be stopped one way or another, it’s wrong,” she said.
Cerciello says she originally contacted the Humane Society with her concerns, but when she didn’t hear back she decided to post her concerns on Facebook.
KDKA reached out to Petland several times on Monday, but did not receive a call back.