There isnt just an overpopulation crisis with dogs and cats. Ask any bird rescue society, and youll discover a tragedy of discarded, lonely, neurotic, mistreated pet shop birds birds PETCO is still selling to anyone who comes along, and still paying suppliers to churn out in warehouses full of distressed parrots and their babies. There are also major problems with reptiles, and other small animals sold at PETCOsold to people with good intentions, but who often havent any idea of the varied needs of these species. Worse, PETCO is failing to provide many of these animals with their basic needs before the sale!
The majority of animals sold at PETCO come from breeding mills. At
PETA, we have received complaints from horrified employees at some
of the bird, reptile, and other small animal breeding mills that ship
to PETCO. Many animals arrive before they are weaned and become so
sick from transport that they die along the way or shortly after they
arrive at PETCO.
A Breeding Room
By their own account, PETCO employees are not properly trained to care for these animals and dont know how to teach customers about the animals needs. We are told that employee training is so bad that baby birds have starved to death and other animals have been left for days at a time without food or water, languishing in filth. PETCO employees have even told us that animals are routinely put into freezers to die.
who are born to fly free in large flocks, are stuck alone in small
cages where they develop psychotic and neurotic behaviors from trying
to cope with loneliness and boredom. Non-native lizards are frequently
placed in small cages that arent properly heated and fed diets
completely wrong for them. Hamsters and mice, who easily fall ill,
sometimes die soon after they are purchased.
The complaints pouring in to PETA show not only that PETCOs own "guidelines" for in-store animal care arent being followed, but also that basic state anti-cruelty laws are often violated, with animals being deprived of the bare minimums required by law, including adequate food, water, veterinary care, and a humane death.
On April 2, 2002, a former PETCO employee told us that "Everything you wrote about PETCO is true. ... Ferrets were always coming in dehydrated, with diarrhea, and they didnt know how to eat hard food, way too young to be away from their mothers. Rats and mice came in suffering from upper respiratory infections, and since they were cheap animals, we werent allowed to take them to the vet; it was either sell them as is, or send them back to be destroyed. Birds constantly came in with growths on their legs or deformed beaks as a result of bad factory breeding."
PETA has been corresponding with PETCO about the mistreatment of animals in its stores for years, yet our efforts to open a constructive dialogue have failed. In fact, conditions have even deteriorated further since we first contacted PETCO. For a brief history of PETAs correspondence with PETCO, click here.