PETNO: Where the pets die.
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What's wrong with PETCO?
There isn’t just an overpopulation crisis with dogs and cats. Ask any bird rescue society, and you’ll 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 PETCO–sold to people with good intentions, but who often haven’t 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
A Breeding Room

By their own account, PETCO employees are not properly trained to care for these animals and don’t 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.

Bird in cageBirds, 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 aren’t 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 PETCO’s own "guidelines" for in-store animal care aren’t 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 didn’t 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 weren’t 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 PETA’s correspondence with PETCO, click here.

Recent Updates
Recent Updates

Peta files SEC
Complaint against

PETCO Timeline
PETCO Timeline

STEPS to follow when you spot abuse in a PETCO store
STEPS to follow
when you spot
abuse in a PETCO

Factsheet on Birds
Factsheet on

"Bond Girl" Denise Richards Aims to Terminate PETCO's "License to Kill"
"Bond Girl"
Denise Richards
Aims to Terminate
"License to Kill"

PETCO Makes P!nk See Red
P!nk See Red
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; 757-622-PETA