Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
According to a whistleblower, two bearded dragons languished in the back room of a Chicago-area PetSmart store for six months, apparently suffering from improperly treated eye infections that spread to their jaws and caused their faces to rot away.
After pressure from PETA, the store's manager finally took the bearded dragons to a veterinarian who put them out of their misery, but untold numbers of other animals are likely languishing in PetSmart stores and its suppliers' warehouses across the country. PETA's undercover investigations have shown time after time that this kind of cruelty is business as usual for PetSmart and its suppliers.
PETA revealed horrors at Rainbow World Exotics, one of PetSmart's main animal suppliers, including throwing live animals into the trash, crude neuter surgeries performed in a dark and filthy room by a layperson, depriving animals of desperately needed veterinary care, and leaving them to cannibalize each other, suffer, and die alone in their cages.
At Sun Pet, another PetSmart supplier, an employee—who has since been fired—placed hamsters in a bag and bashed it against a table in an attempt to kill them. Other animals who couldn't be sold were gassed in a crude, filth-encrusted tank.
Animals at the now-defunct U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., which supplied exotic animals to PetSmart, were crammed into severely crowded and filthy containers, including soda bottles and milk jugs, litter pans, cattle-feeding troughs, and barren wire cages. Hundreds of animals were denied basic necessities, such as food, water, and veterinary care.
And PETA's undercover investigation of a PetSmart store in Manchester, Connecticut, documented that more than 100 animals—including hamsters, rats, lizards, chinchillas, and birds—were deprived of adequate veterinary care and just left to die slowly, hidden from customers' sight. PetSmart boasted that this store had an "outstanding pet care team" and an "exceptional pet care record." Pathetic.
Please show PetSmart that you haven't forgotten about the animals who suffer unseen. Boycott PetSmart, and tell company officials that you won't set foot in their stores until live animals are no longer part of the inventory.
Written by PETA
An employee of a New Jersey PetSmart store has been charged with three counts of cruelty to animals after allegedly punching a cat, attacking another, and killing a rabbit at his girlfriend's home. One of the cats was injured so severely that he had to be euthanized.
PetSmart has "suspended" the alleged animal killer. That's not much, but it is way more than the chain has ever done when allegations of abuse surfaced against its animal supplier mills, like Sun Pet and Rainbow World Exotics. Or when customers and whistleblowers around the country have reported filthy, severely crowded cages; comatose animals who were lying on cage floors; and animals who were suffering from deadly, contagious diseases in PetSmart stores. A PETA undercover investigation at a Connecticut PetSmart store revealed that sick and injured animals were deprived of veterinary care and left to die slowly in the "sick room" out of public view. Yet PetSmart continues to buy and sell living beings as if they were squeaky toys.
You can help by refusing to shop at PetSmart until it stops selling animals.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Authorities recently raided Dutch animal dealer and breeding mill Reintjes—a supplier of U.S. Global Exotics (USGE)—and found animals crammed in cages in a dark warehouse with no working fan to combat stale air and the stench of urine and feces. Many animals had no access to food or water, and many were starving. Authorities seized every animal on the premises—5,900 in all, including mice, rats, hamsters, and birds—from Reintjes' owners, who already had criminal records for cruelty to animals.
Reintjes was a global supplier of animals to the pet trade. In 2009 alone, it supplied 112,546 animals to USGE, a major supplier of animals to wholesale dealers and pet stores in the U.S.—including PETCO and PetSmart suppliers Rainbow World Exotics and Sun Pet—until it was shut down following a PETA undercover investigation. USGE, which purchased rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, chipmunks, tree squirrels, and other animals from Reintjes, shared the Dutch company's view of animals as disposable commodities. Authorities raiding USGE found live animals shoved into soda bottles and tiny food storage containers; animals with severe, untreated injuries; a widespread lack of food, water, and adequate housing; and sick animals left to die. In fact, on the day of the seizure, an unpacked shipment of hundreds of chinchillas and hamsters from Reintjes was among the first things authorities found.
There is no word yet on whether Reintjes will be shut down permanently, but we will release updates as we have them. It is impossible to patronize pet stores like PETCO and PetSmart that sell live animals without supporting abusive animal dealers and breeding mills. Please, purchase your animal supplies at stores that don't sell live animals.
Remember PETA's 2007 undercover investigation of Rainbow World Exotics (RWE), a hellhole in Hamilton, Texas, that supplies PETCO and PetSmart stores with little hamsters, gerbils, and other critters? Before going public with that investigation, we sat down with three PETCO corporate representatives (one of whom was a vet) and showed them heartbreaking footage of a worker who was castrating rabbits and bleaching their wounds, a manager who was stomping hamsters to death, live animals who were being tossed in the trash, a cockatoo who was starving and dying, and more. We were sure that PETCO would want nothing to do with RWE after seeing the footage of all this misery. Boy, were we wrong. PETCO (as well as PetSmart) stood by RWE, refused to sever ties, and insisted that things there were not so bad. We are quite sure that the animals would disagree. Up until now, we thought that we knew how low this massive pet-store giant was capable of stooping.
It turns out that we were wrong.
On Tuesday, PETCO put out a news release saying that it had "stepped up" and was "calling all small animal lovers" to "adopt" "more than 2,000 recently rescued animals" who are being held in the company's Dallas-area stores—animals who were among the 26,000 critters who were confiscated from yet another hellhole supplier, U.S. Global Exotics (USGE), after a PETA investigation uncovered horrific conditions there. USGE was a supplier to RWE. Many of the animals seized from USGE were ultimately bound for PETCO stores.
In the news release, a PETCO rep actually proclaimed, "We were appalled by the tragedy at U.S. Global Exotics …." That's rich! But not as rich as PETCO—the company made more than $2.5 billion in 2008 by selling animals from massive mills like RWE and USGE. And according the release, it looks like the company was poised to make a pretty profit off this "adoption" deal. All the money to be made from the adoptions and the application fees for the animals was set to go to the PETCO Foundation, while all of the money from the pet supplies a new parent needs to properly care for an animal would have lined the pockets of PETCO's CEOs. The money would not have gone to the thousands of animals from USGE who need homes. No, that responsibility falls on the shoulders of PETA and other nonprofit organizations that have been working around the clock to get these animals out of harm's way and to provide them with the basic necessities of which they have been deprived.
After PETA made a few phone calls, we were able to get the animals—including anoles, geckos, toads, snakes, iguanas, hermit crabs, long-tailed grass lizards, mice, hamsters, and frogs—removed from PETCO's clutches. We were promised that they would be placed with reputable groups. PETCO told local media that it was "extremely disappointed" after this absurd plan was halted (we bet!).
These animals are now safe, but PETCO's exploitation of animals will continue as long as the corporate giant continues to buy and sell animals. So what can you do? Tell everyone you know to chime in and demand that PETCO cease all live animal sales immediately!
Written by Daphna Nachminovitch, Vice President of Cruelty Investigations
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.