A Kiwi business that exports wallabies to the United States for sale in pet shops has been dragged into an international probe into animal cruelty.

Rotorua-based Dama Exporters was dobbed in to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The move followed a PETA investigation into US Global Exotics, a Texas-based business run by Kiwi, Jasen Brent Shaw, 31.

US authorities seized about 26,000 animals from Shaw's business in December after being given photos and film by a PETA worker that apparently showed mistreatment.

PETA's James Wood said the New Zealand arm of the organisation contacted MAF after discovering Shaw bought wallabies from Dama Exporters.

Dama Exporters owner Tony Melvin said some losses were always expected in animal exporting, but wallabies that ended up at Shaw's company had a higher death rate. He laid the blame at Shaw's door.

Melvin said MAF staff visited his property last month and cleared his operation. The Shaws are believed to have fled the US before his arrest warrant was issued in February.

The couple own a property in the Coromandel.

A woman who answered the phone at the address yesterday hung up when told it was the Herald on Sunday.