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Chinchilla farm owner reacts to license revocation

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CHATFIELD, Minn. (KTTC) -- Dan Moulton has been selling chinchillas to pet distributors and research facilities for 55 years, but as of Friday, October 8, Moulton was stripped of these privileges.

"I've invested 55 years into these chinchillas," said Moulton. "These people want to shut down anything and everything."

His USDA license was revoked by a federal court ruling.

"A federal judge ruled in favor of the USDA, and found that Moulton had committed over one hundred violations of the Federal Animal Welfare Act between 2013 and 2017," said Daniel Paden, PETA vice president. "The judge declared him unfit to hold a license to breed and sell those animals to laboratories and to pet stores. She fined him $18,000 and she revoked his license."

Some of the violations the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Moulton committed were the following:

"Depriving animals of veterinary care that they desperately needed, for painful injuries or severe illnesses," said Paden. "Leaving these animals in cages that were rusty, and that had broken sharp edges protruding in."

After denying us entry to his farm, we visited Moulton at his law office in Rochester. We were greeted by a mound of "hate mail."

"That's PETA hate mail and with regard to it, these people, all they're doing is trying to stir people up that aren't aware of what's going on," said Moulton.

In addition to many testimonials supporting Moulton's upkeep of his chinchillas.

"These are people that have been in my facility, these are people that have observed what's going on," said Moulton. "I've had good relationships with people for probably 35 years where I've supplied them."

For now, the chinchillas remain under Moulton's possession, which leaves PETA's Daniel Paden concerned.

"Now, he is subject to absolutely no oversight whatsoever. For years, the USDA has been going in multiple times a year to at least check on the animals," said Paden.

Moulton, a practicing attorney himself, says he is aware of his legal options.

"If I appeal I can continue to go and sell until the matter has been resolved, or I appeal that decision."

What he will do next is unclear at the moment.

"I can't tell you the justification at this moment because I haven't read it yet," said Moulton. "I'm weighing my options on it right now, I'm inclined to go ahead with it."

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Noah Caplan

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