On 5th October 2023, the animal rights group PETA submitted a formal complaint to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) demanding an investigation into the Mt. Hope Auction’s Mid Ohio Alternative Animal and Bird Sale, which has been cited for violations of the AWA 36 times since September 2022.

This time PETA has discovered that local animal dealer Jeremiah Tietz of Saginaw Tropical Animals sold sloths, squirrel monkeys, and other animals in September. At the time PETA had already launched an exposé documenting that exhibitors at the action sold animals suffering from obvious injuries and diseases, as well as uncovered numerous apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

PETA’s investigators saw that Tietz had attempted to sell a fox along with otters, marmosets, and African wildcats. Investigators also documented that exhibitors sold animals who had sustained broken legs and open wounds as well as animals who were emaciated, pacing frantically, and biting their cages. Multiple animals were confined without water and were kept in crowded pens and cages, some so small that they couldn’t stand upright or turn around.

Debbie Metzler, PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Welfare, said in a statement, “This auction is a nightmare for the thousands of animals who are sold like pieces of old furniture to people who likely don’t have the resources, knowledge, or desire to care for them properly. PETA is calling on the USDA to throw the book at anyone who brought animals to be auctioned off like trinkets, and the public can help by never purchasing animals from a breeder.”

The auction has also been repeatedly cited for keeping squirrel monkeys in unsafe, inadequate enclosures that risk injury to animals and the public.