Amend the way Pets At Home sell animals

Amend the way Pets At Home sell animals

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Cara Wallace started this petition to Pets at Home and

For most of us animal lovers, it is clear that the animals being sold in Pets at Home stores all over the UK aren't cared for correctly. For others, it may not be so clear, but Pets at Home must amend the way they sell animals now.

For many creatures inside the store, the environment is a stressful one. They are usually placed in high numbers in tiny cages. These cages are then put on display all around the store for children to scream at and bang on the glass. Additionally, the dogs that people bring into the store bark and jump up at cages which, as you can imagine, would be terrifying for the little prey animals inside.

It is well-known that stress causes illness; this is no different for animals. Unfortunately, everybody I have spoken to who has purchased a rat from a Pets at Home store has had troubles with upper respiratory infections (URI). Rats cannot breathe through their mouths for prolonged periods and so, rats with URIs have very painful and uncomfortable deaths if it can't be treated, and this is personal to me. A friend of mine purchased a rat from Pets at Home out of pity - he was previously in the cage with two other rats, but when we returned a few days later, he was entirely on his own, curled up and trembling under a block that was in his cage. Children were banging on the glass and shouting. Dogs were barking inside the store. The amount of noise and traffic that goes through a Pets at Home store from the moment it opens to the moment it closes is unreal. This rat was clearly scared and lonely, so we took him home. On our first night, we noticed the sneezing. We phoned Pets at Home who advised the "stress of moving" would have been what caused it. After a round of antibiotics, the sneezing lessened. He was fine for around half a year, but after that point, the URIs returned and no matter how many rounds of antibiotics he was given, nothing helped. We even attempted humidifiers to treat it, which helped for a short while, but then nothing would help. I eventually had to make the horrid decision to have him put to sleep, and that morning he was gasping for air and was so oxygen starved that he couldn't stand upright and was terrified, thrashing around and crying. This situation is not unique in the slightest, and is a result of cheap, efficient breeding and stressful upbringings for these animals.

There are similar issues all throughout the store, especially regarding their fish. There are many stories of people buying fish from there who subsequently get "white spot" in the space of a few days and die - another experience of mine. There are also many reports of dead fish inside the tanks in the stores and nothing being done about it.

Another thing that the store must promote is animal welfare. They may state that they do, but I can personally say that they do not. Many years ago, I had pet mice. We purchased a bed from the store that was labelled as suitable for mice and other small rodents. I had just gotten in from school and could hear the most awful sounds coming from my room. Upon entering, one of my mice had chewed the bed (as rodents do!) and managed to trap her leg in a loose piece of thread. In her panic, she managed to contort and twist her body until she literally looked like a rung-out towel. She had broken many bones doing this. She had even attempted to chew her leg off to free herself. The worst part - she was still alive. We rushed her to the vets to be put to sleep and the injection caused her to fit, making her death even slower and even more scary for her. As a child, this obviously traumatised me and I couldn't believe that a store for pets had promoted a product which was supposedly safe for rodents when it clearly was not. We took the item into the store and explained the situation, after which the store decided to take the product off the shelves. We were very upset but thankful that this would hopefully not happen to any other animals. However, within the next few months, the product was back on the shelves, and still is today. The company have issued no warning about the danger it can cause.

Ultimately, Pets at Home must change the way they sell animals and promote animal welfare. To do this, there should be a dedicated part of the store which holds live animals. This section should be separate from the store and closed off, so it remains a quiet, calm environment for the animals. They must be socialised each day, as many animals who leave that store are so nervous of humans they can never be handled as well as they could be with ethical breeders. This section should be manned by a member of staff at all times, and if people enter the store looking to purchase an animal, they may be escorted into that section with a member of staff to ensure the entire ordeal is kept as calm as possible, so not to stress the animals.

This seems like such a simple solution but it would make the world of difference to these animals. I am surprised it is not already general practice, but hopefully this petition will encourage them to change the way they sell animals.

Thank you.

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