PETCO & PETSMART: STOP SELLING LIVE ANIMALS!
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As some of you know, Petsmart and Petco are chain pet stores. They sell supplies for pets of all kinds, such as dogs and cats and reptiles and birds. However they also sell live animals (rodents, reptiles, birds, etc). That would be great if there was not such a dark backstory to it. These animals come from animal mills and live in terrible, sickly conditions.
Animals are mass bred and distributed, but the worst part is while they are in the mills. A video below shows some of the abuse that occurs. Animals do not receive proper veterinary care, and when one needs to be "fixed" it is done without anesthesia by hand by someone who is not a professional. They allow cats in the animal mills and sometimes the small rodents get killed by the cats. The cages are small or extremely crowded, the conditions are terrible. Birds have been shown to have metal wires wrapped around their talons and embedded in their skin, and rodents and possibly other animals have been mass frozen and drowned for being too sickly.
I feel reptiles have the more terrible end of the stick because they require so much care, and reptiles do not have the heat they need, nor do they have the humidity or UVB. They can't shed properly which can lead to limbs and appendages falling off, nor do they have the vitamin and calcium supplementation which (if missing from their diet) will inevitably lead to MBD (a bone disorder that makes their bones spongy, their bodies deformed, and their mouth rubbery) and other health issues. Basic husbandry is not met which leads to countless issues as well, such as mites and parasites. Snakes are not given proper bedding so that they cannot burrow and feel safe, and other reptiles are not given proper hiding places so they can feel safe and secure. PSA: Stress can kill reptiles so this is deadly as well to not give them a hide.
Then, these animals are distributed to Petcos and Petsmarts, and there they do not receive proper care. The employees are average people so they cannot help the fact that they don't know how to properly care for animals, or that they may know how to, for example, take care of ferrets but not birds, or take care of reptiles but not hamsters. But store policy does not accommodate good animal care; unless you find the rare good store, reptiles are crammed into tiny cages, usually with sand (which WILL cause impaction and KILL the animals painfully by blocking the stomach up and starving it or breaking its organs), food is left in its enclosure like crickets which bite at the reptiles' legs and eyes (you need to carefully monitor your animals so this doesn't happen), no supplements are given, and parasites flourish due to bad husbandry and putting multiple animals in one enclosure. Leopard geckos specifically have been seen to have cryptosporidium (or "Stick Tail Disease") which is an incurable parasite that is contagious and it basically takes away a reptile's appetite and starves it until the reptile is nothing but skin and bones and always eventually kills it. This can affect any reptile. I saw a poor leopard gecko baby with it, and stupidly adopted it to try and save it, but then I realized I was just supporting Petco and Petsmart, contributing to the problem.
The Petsmart and Petco stores sometimes throw away live animals that don't get sold fast enough, and occassionally good people will find them and complain, but these stores don't seem to get in trouble. Its time to change that. The employees tell animal buyers to buy the incorrect equipment and supplies, furthering the animal's suffering. Employees usually suggest poor substrates like sand for leopard geckos and bearded dragons and other reptiles, which WILL kill it eventually and make its life hell (they cannot complain about it because they are just little animals). They suggest lighting and UVB for animals that are nocturnal and do not need it, and some nocturnal reptile morphs like albino should not have lighting as it burns their eyes. They don't tell you that you need to give reptiles a varied diet and that you cannot feed it dead bugs (which have lost all nutrients due to being dead). They don't tell you that you need to gutload your bugs for 24 hours before feeding to your reptiles, and they don't usually tell you to dust your bugs in supplements. Small animals like hamsters and rodents have been seen in bad enclosures that have been lazily set up and have had their water bottles put up to high so that they have to struggle to reach it and/or cannot reach it at all.
Keep in mind that there ARE good Petcos and Petsmarts that DO take care of their animals, but the bad ones certainly outnumber the good. Reptiles and small animals ARE great pets, but they are not for amateurs or children despite popular belief. Chain stores don't know what they are doing, and they are too cheap and unprofessional to buy from good breeders and instead buy from animal mills where the animals are highly abused and tortured, to death in a lot of cases. These animals should be treated well and respected, not sold and/or disposed of like trash. These animals have been traumatized and the amateur knowledge of Petco/Petsmart is not helping it, nor are their limiting store policies. Some employees ARE good, and they want to help the animals, but they are not allowed to in a lot of cases.
As a loving leopard gecko and snake owner, I love animals and I despise what these people do to their animals. I, Olivia Hamel, am asking you to support this petition to STOP SELLING LIVE ANIMALS IN PETSMART & PETCO!
(Picture for campaign by Tonicwind of DeviantART)
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