SD Humane Society makes largest rescue ever

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SAN DIEGO — It’s the largest rescue operation ever for the San Diego Humane Society.  The group joining the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to save 400 chinchillas from a ranch in Vista.

“This has been an enormous undertaking but we were honored,” said Katherine Schenar, VP of Communications for the San Diego Humane Society. “When the need came, we stepped up.”

ChinchillaPETA representatives said the ranch bred and sold some of the small furry rodents and the others were killed and made into coats.

“The method of killing at that farm was electrocution,” said Lisa Lange with PETA. “The clips are miniature versions of what you would use to jump start a car battery.”

Lange said death for the animal is prolonged.

“These animals don’t die right away,” she said. “They feel all the pain of electrocution and all the pain of a massive heart attack but the chinchillas here at the Humane Society will not feel that.”

PETA with funding from Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon, purchased the business.  PETA said it was told by the owners that if the business couldn’t be sold, all the animals would be killed.

“That land by contract can no longer be used to breed and kill chinchillas,” said Lange.

The Humane Society said it had been called out to investigate the ranch, but what was happening isn’t illegal.

“It’s not technically illegal, according to California state law,” said Lange. “We think that to cause painful death like this is illegal and should be considered illegal but it is not written that way in the law.”

Twenty part-time workers have been hired by the Humane Society just to care for the animals which have been spread out to the shelter’s three locations. About 600 pounds of hay have been brought in along with 500 pounds of food and 150 pounds of dust since chinchillas bathe in dust, not water.

“We believe every animal matters and that’s why we stepped up,” said Katherine Schenar.  “We are confident San Diegans are going to step up and adopt these guys and give them a second chance at life.”

The Humane Society is accepting donations online for the care efforts for the chinchillas.


  • Sheena

    FOX5 San Diego–you should have checked your story out first. Now check out what the Humane society is doing with the animals. I understand that they are going to neuter all the males. Chinchillas are rare and this will just make them even more rare. They were being sold as pets only and the owners have not pelted them in years unless it was by the request of an owner due to their sick or dying pet. The pelts have to be treated before the owners were to pick them up. I have known the owners and visited them at the ranch over the years (40+) as I am their niece and I can tell you they have very kind hearts. It was their decision years ago to stop pelting and start breeding pets only, as they loved their animals and decided others would love them as much as they did. Did you know that Lurlie was Small business woman of the year a few years back? Even went to washington to be recognized. I don't think that would have been the case if she was not taking care of the chinchillas properly. No, you probably didn't. I am appalled that a newspaper would print the trash you printed. How about printing the results of the raid PETA and the Humane Society made after the final purchase payment by the buyer–Sam Simon. The owners received threatening calls to bomb their ranch and that was after the damage that PETA did to cages and property that they did before they left. My uncle had built the cages to be big and safe for the animals. If a chinchilla chews on a cage built of treated wire, they get very sick and many times die. Special food was fed to them. The cages were cleaned daily and each and every pet was checked on daily. The pet has to be kept in a very cool environment also. There is probably much more you didn't know about the care of such a special animal. My aunt and uncle knew it all and trained their helpers and the new owners.
    I think a retracting article needs to be made, but that is in your hands now and the personal and property damage has been done. May you rest uneasy!!!!!

  • KL

    The inacurcies in this article has reached a new low for Fox. A retraction should not only be made but a journalists who is not in bed with PETA should write Lurlie and the Chinchila Ranch’s real story. I have never seen such dedication to the care and breeding of these animals . My Brownie troops went on neuromus visits unannounced . The time the staff spent teaching them about the chinchillas , how Lurlie cataloged the lineage of every birth for 40+ years was not something you could get at Sea World or the Zoo. Vets called her when sick Chinchillas came into their office . The cages were cleaner than SPCA . Why would PETA destroy cages that PETA could have used to hold these animals while they were waiting to be adopted? Did PETA storm the place and just start ripping the little guys from there cages . How traumatic !!! Shame on you FOX and Shame on PETA

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