Protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have demanded that a man be charged with animal cruelty after chinchillas were seized from his ranch last year.
Protesters spoke outside the Rice County Courthouse in Fairbault on Friday and held photos showing sick and injured chinchillas they said were at the Moulton Chinchilla Ranch, owned and operated by Dan Moulton, near of Chatfield.
Rice County District Attorney John Fossum said his office reviewed the case six months ago and determined it had no authority to pursue any further charges.
The Moulton Chinchilla Ranch is in Fillmore County, but the case was transferred to the Rice County District Attorney’s office after it was discovered that Moulton was friends with the Fillmore County District Attorney on social media. Moulton is also a practicing attorney.
Fossum said the USDA has already taken action by fining Moulton $18,000 and revoking his license, which he says is “much worse” than any punishment that may come from cruelty charges. animals.
PETA organizers said they objected to the decision not to charge Moulton with animal cruelty and claimed he still had about 700 chinchillas on his ranch.
Moulton used to sell the chinchillas to universities and research centers, but can no longer do so after the USDA revoked its license.
According to Fossum, any new consideration for charges should first come from Fillmore County.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has contacted Moulton’s law firm and ranch, but has yet to hear back.