Prevent animal cruelty/homelessness by requiring customers to pass pet questionnaires!

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In August 2005, the company announced that it was rebranding its name from PetsMart to PetSmart. This move, which stressed "Smart" over "Mart," was designed to announce its evolution from a pet supply store to a solutions-oriented company.

Well, I have a solution to prevent pets from being neglected and placed into shelters by owners who didn't know any better or didn't care to do their research. Not only that, but it may make your company more profit!

My solution to prevent 99% of animal homelessness is that customers must be required to fill out a questionnaire about the animal that they are intending to buy, and must purchase the required equipment to take proper care of that animal, before they are allowed to bring that animal home.

This will ensure that the customer has done their research, are on their way to a better relationship with their pet since they did said research, ensures that the animal has proper facilities before it goes, and ensures that you get sales of that equipment. For example, if it was mandatory to take a quiz about a sun conure, and learn the exact reasons why one needs to buy it a large cage, playstand, different sized perches, a foraging toy, destructible toys, calcium, a uvb light if they're not housing outdoors, a spray bottle, a companion conure if they are not going to spend a lot of time with it, and a bath pan, then they will buy those items.

Whereas if the customer is allowed to choose the bare minimum supplies, they would simply buy a small cage, a dowel perch, some food, and then leave, leaving you with less profits. And if customers don't do their research before getting a pet, they will be unhappy when they hear their new sun conure screaming, thinking either the birds were supposed to be quiet or not knowing why the bird is screaming since they didn't do research beforehand. Then, they will give the bird away to a rescue group, who is already filled to capacity with unwanted parrots. Or, they will neglect the bird for the rest of its long lifespan since they don't understand or like the bird, and may never going back to your store to buy anything other than the occasional bag of feed when they could be buying toys for it and having a great relationship with it, if it was mandatory to fill out the questionnaire. 

This might seem like it would generate less profit, since impulse-buyers may be dissuaded after learning what they're getting into. BUT, while perhaps that may sometimes happen, most people buy a pet with good intentions or a lot of passion, and would buy them the proper cages and equipment, if they were properly educated about the animal. But it seems to be the norm for people to get a pet without doing any research first, or only relying on store employees/their friends for information. So, you will be creating more owners who will spend more money on their pet once they know the pet's complex needs, than you would be losing the occasional person who gives up after learning their pet's needs.

Below are two examples of the questionnaire. The first is for finches, to show you that they can make money with this even for 'easy to care for' animals, and the second is for conures, which are the animals that have the most complicated needs that you sell. You do not have to read it, you can skip to the end of the petition for a clear summary of why this is a good idea, but in case you want to implement the idea, here it is:

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Finch questionnaire:

1.Why do you want to keep finches?
A)Breeding and selling B)For looks/entertainment
2.Can finches regulate the amount of food they eat so that they don't become overweight?
A)Yes, as long as you give them healthy food B)No, you must limit the amount of food available to them
3.What does a finch's diet consist of in the wild?
A)Mostly fruits and vegetables B)Mostly seeds, with insects during breeding season C)Mostly insects and worms D)Only seeds
4.What could be a proper diet in captivity?
A)50% seeds 50%pellets B)100%pellets C)100%seeds D)100% mealworms and crickets
5.How long do finches live to be in captivity if properly cared for?
A)1-2 years B)4 years C)9-12 years
6.Are you willing to make a long-term commitment to give your finches the best life you can for 12 years?
A)Yes B)No
7.Who is going to care for your birds while you are away? (in the hospital, on vacation, etc.)
_____________________
8.Finches are social animals, with wild non-breeding flocks usually made up of 40-100 individuals. Can you get only one finch and still have the finch happy?
A)Yes B)No
9.Why is bathing important to birds?
A)For healthy feather growth and skin B)To encourage preening C)Removes dust/dander/extra oils D)All of the above
10.Why do birds need calcium?
A)To strengthen their hollow bones which will deteriorate or break easily otherwise B)To maintain healthy beaks and feathers C)Both A and B
11.Why do birds need 8-12 hours of access to UVb light, or sunlight that isn't shining through a window? (never leave your bird cage in direct sun unless there is shade and water provided)
A)To be able to metabolize and use calcium B)For proper sleep C)For serotonin/vitamin D (happiness) D)Feather condition and overall health E)Better vision, as birds can see the full spectrum of UVA and without it they are essentially color-blind F)All of the above
12.What is foraging?
A)Eating food B)Waiting for food to appear in food bowl C)The process of hunting for and trying to obtain food
13.What are some benefits of foraging for birds?
A)Keeps them mentally and physically active and healthy B)Gives them more control over their environment, and a sense of purpose C)Decreases abnormal behaviors such as feather-picking and aggression toward other birds D)All of the above
14.How do finches forage in the wild?
A)On the ground B)In the treetops C)Solving puzzles
15.What are some ways to provide foraging activities for your finches?
A)Placing a food dish on the ground and covering the food inside with a few small twigs and herbs such as cilantro so that finches have to root around to get at their food B)Placing fresh food such as grapes on a skewer somewhere in cage C)Buying a foraging toy designed for small birds such as finches D)Placing food in food bowl as usual E)A, B, and C
16.What is bumblefoot?
A)A condition where birds get bumbles on their feet B) A condition where birds move or act in an awkward or confused manner C)A fatal infection seen as swelling on your bird's feet
17.How can you prevent bumblefoot?
A)By providing swing perches, which lessen the impact on the foot when landing on the perch B)By providing different diameters of perches so that weight isn't distributed the same way on feet throughout the day C)By providing dowel perches D)Both A and B
18.Do finches enjoy being handled by humans?
A)Yes B)No
19.What are unsafe foods for finches? Circle all that apply.
A)Fruit pits/fruit seeds B) Chocolate C)Dairy D)Mushrooms E)Alcohol F)Caffeine G)Lettuce H)Avocado I)Lemon J)Potato K)Grit L)Fruits M)Insects
20.Can smoking, non-stick pans, and aerosol sprays instantly kill your birds because of their sensitive lungs?
A)Yes B)No
21.Are there any smokers in your home that refuse to smoke outside, even with the knowledge that it will greatly harm your birds?
A)Yes B)No
22.What are some other dangers to watch out for?
A)Unraveling, frayed rope toys B)Allowing the bird contact with rust or toxic metal C)Letting predator animals such as cats and dogs have access to your birds' cage D)All of the above
23.Why is it dangerous to house birds outdoors during the night?
A)Rats/wild predators reaching through the bars of the cage and eating/attacking them B)Mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases C)Cold drafts D)You are not around to hear if a bird has a night fright and hurt itself by hitting the cage bars E)All of the above

(Correct answers:
1.B
2.A
3.B
4.A
5.C
6.A
7.(Free points)
8.B
9.D
10.C
11.F
12.C
13.D
14.A
15.E
16.C
17.D
18.B
19.All except for Insects and Lettuce
20.A
21.B
22.D
23.E

Required equipment:
1.Bird bath
2.Cuttlebone
3.One thin perch
4.One thicker perch
4.Swing perch
5.One uvb light
6.Lamp for uvb light
7.Suitable flight cage
8.At least 2 zebra finches
9.Bird food


Compared to someone who is uneducated/unwilling to spend money on their pet:
1.Small, cramped cage
2.1 dowel perch
3.1 zebra finch
4.Bird food


There are a lot more initial and long-term sales to be made if owners are made to educate themselves before getting their pet. 

 

Conure questionnaire

Basic care questions:

1.Why do you want a conure?
A)Breeding B)Personal companion C)For entertainment D)Other_____________
2.If you are a parent buying this bird for your child, are you willing to take proper care of it even after your child gets bored of it?
A)Yes B)No
3.How long do conures live to be in captivity if properly cared for?
A)1-2 years B)8 years C)15 years D)Around 30 years
4.Are you willing to make a long-term commitment to give this conure the best life you can for 30 years, even if you lose this infatuation you feel for the bird over time? (If you are 20, you will be 50 when this bird dies.)
A)Yes B)No
5.Who is going to care for your pet while you are away? (in the hospital, on vacation, etc.)
_____________________
6.Birds often do not show sickness until it is too late. How often are you going to take your bird to the vet?
A)Annually B)Whenever it seems sick C)Never D) Both A and B
7.What is the name and address of the animal hospital that you are going to bring this bird to if it is sick or injured?
_________________________________
8.Can conures regulate the amount of food they eat so that they don't become overweight?
A)Yes, as long as you give them healthy food B)No, you must limit the amount of food available to them
9.What does a conure's diet mainly consist of in the wild?
A)Mostly fruits and vegetables, some seeds and insects B)Mostly seeds C)Mostly insects
10.What would be a proper diet in captivity?
A)50% seeds 50%pellets B)80%pellets 20%seeds C)100%pellets D)100%seeds E)Either B or C
11.Are you aware that properly caring of a conure costs around $50 a month, and that you should set aside and continue to save money for vet bills that can reach hundreds of dollars?
A)Yes B)No
12.Is the primary caretaker of this bird employed, or financially able to care for this bird without relying on friends or family?
A)Yes B)No
13.Is the species of bird you seek to acquire social?
A)Yes B)Yes, but they do fine alone C)No
14.How do you intend to fulfill this need for interaction?
A)Getting it a same-sex companion to interact with so that you don't have to worry about interacting with birds B)Letting it ride on your shoulder around the house or leaving it on a play-stand next to you for 2-3 hours, or whenever it screams for attention C)Birds are fine alone in a cage all day, especially if they have toys
15.If you cannot let your bird out of its cage for longer than an hour, do you realize that the only way to meet your bird's social needs is by getting it a large flight cage and a companion or two?
A)Yes B)No
16.Are sun conures domesticated (Meaning that they are bred to automatically please their owners/enjoy their presence, like dogs?)
A)Yes B)No, they are just tamed wild animals
17.If you cannot change your birds' water bowl every day or when the bird dunks food in it, will you train your bird to use a water bottle by showing it how it works, keeping the water fresh and available?
A)Yes B)No
18.Why is bathing important to birds?
A)For healthy feather growth and skin B)To encourage preening C)Removes dust/dander/extra oils D)All of the above E)Birds don't need to bathe
19.How often should you offer your bird a bathing opportunity?
A)Whenever they choose, by having the bath pan attached to cage B)Once every month C)Never
20.Why do birds need calcium?
A)To strengthen their hollow bones which will deteriorate or easily break otherwise B)To maintain healthy beaks and feathers C)Both A and B D)None
21.Why do birds need 8-12 hours of access to UVb light, or sunlight that isn't shining through a window? (never leave your birdcage in direct sun unless there is shade and water provided)
A)To be able to metabolize and use calcium B)For proper sleep C)For serotonin/vitamin D (happiness) D)Feather condition and overall health E)Better vision, as birds can see the full spectrum of UVA and without it they are essentially color-blind F)All of the above
22.How many hours of quality sleep should your bird get?
A)10 hours B)6 hours C)N/A


Dangers:

23.What are some potentially unsafe foods for birds? Circle all that apply.
A)Fruit pits/fruit seeds B) Chocolate C)Peanuts D)Grit E)Dairy F)Mushrooms G)Alcohol H)Caffeine
24.Are there any smokers in your home that refuse to smoke outside?
A)Yes B)No
25.Can smoking, non-stick pans, and aerosol sprays instantly kill your bird?
A)Yes B)No
26.What is a blood feather?
A)A feather that is still growing, and full of blood B)A feather that is covered in blood C)N/A
27.What should you do if your bird breaks a blood feather?
A)Take it to your avian vet immediately B)Do nothing, it will clot on its own
28.What are some other dangers to watch out for?
A) Sleeping in bed with your bird B) Unraveling rope toys/sleep huts C)Allowing the bird contact with rust or toxic metal D) All of the above E) None of the above
29.Is it safe to let children under 12 unsupervised with the bird?
A)Yes B)If the child is mature C)No
30.Is it safe to let your bird interact with animals outside of its species?
A)Yes, as long as they are not predators B)Yes, as long as you make sure both animals like each other C)Yes, as long as you supervise them D)No
31.Is it safe to let your bird interact with animals outside of its species unsupervised?
A)Yes, as long as both animals like each other B)Yes, as long as they are both birds C)Yes, as long as they are not predators D)No
32.What safety cautions must you take if you allow your bird to fly around the house?
A)Keeping all windows closed, to prevent escape, and putting stickers/blinds so that they do not fly into them B)Making sure all people in the household are aware not to let the bird out if the ceiling fan is on C)Not leaving any toilets open in case they happen to fall in D)Completely bird-proofing the house OR keeping it under supervision while it is out of cage E)Micro-chipping the bird so that it can be recovered if it escapes F)Keeping it in a travel cage or harness when taking the bird outside G)All of the above
33.What safety cautions must you take if having a bird's wings clipped (full-clips are NOT recommended)?
A)Always watching the ground while walking so you or someone else does not step on the bird B)Making sure the bird is not out while any animals that aren't its species are out, because it is unable to fly away from an attack C)That the bird does not continually jump and take hard falls to the ground, breaking bones, beak, or causing brain injuries D)That you should allow your young bird to become a good flier BEFORE you clip the bird's wings, because if it doesn't learn when it is young, it will be a dangerously bad flier when it is allowed as an adult E)If the wings are clipped when one of the feathers are still growing, a blood feather may be opened and your bird can bleed to death F)That the clipped bird does not make a habit out of feather-plucking from being denied its instinctive urge to fly or escape a stressful situation G)All of the above
34.Should you ever hold a bird's tail?
A)Yes B)No
35.Why is it dangerous to house a bird outdoors during the night?
A)Rats/predators reaching through the bars of the cage B)Mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases C)Cold drafts D)You are not around to hear if bird gets scared at night and hurts itself E)All of the above


Quality of life:

36.What is foraging?
A)Waiting for food to appear in the food bowl B)The process of hunting for and trying to obtain food
37.How long do wild conures spend looking for food?
A)A few minutes B)From sunrise to sunset C)They don't forage in the wild
38.Why is foraging important to captive birds?
A)Keeps them mentally and physically active and healthy B)Gives them more control over their environment, and a sense of purpose C)Decreases abnormal behaviors such as feather-picking and aggression toward other birds/people D)All of the above E)Foraging isn't important
39.What can happen if parrots don't have any foraging toys?
A)They may pluck their feathers out of loneliness or boredom B)They may give ear-piercing screams out of loneliness or boredom C)They will be unhappy and have pent up energy, making it more likely that they may bite D)All of the above E)Nothing
40.Do you intend to replicate foraging behavior in your bird's environment?
A)Yes B)No
41.If yes, what are some ways to replicate foraging behavior?
A)Putting food in foraging toys B)Hiding food in a crumpled piece of paper somewhere in the cage C)Hanging fresh food on skewers D)Putting food in bowl E)A, B, and C
42.Does feather-plucking out of boredom or loneliness ever occur in the wild?
A)Yes B)No
43.Do birds feel pain when they rip out their feathers?
A)Yes, it is like pulling out your hair, or a teenager cutting themselves B)No, birds don't feel pain
44.What can feather-plucking usually signify?
A)That bird is not getting enough attention from humans or birds B)That bird is bored from lack of foraging toys and destructible toys C)That bird is stressed about something D)That bird may need to go to the vet E)All of the above
45.What should you do if your bird is feather-plucking?
A)Get it a companion to interact with so that you do not have to spend so much time with it B)Give it more challenging foraging toys C)Buy destructible toys that it will use D)Let it bathe more in case it has skin problems E)Give it a larger cage F)Take it to the vet G)Do nothing H)All of the above, except G
46.What can happen as a result of feather-plucking?
A)Pain B)Damaged follicles so feathers can't grow back C)Becomes a habitual response to stress and bird will grow ugly D)Bird loses insulation and becomes cold E)All of the above
47.What benefits can a bird get from flying?
A)Exercise, which gives immense health benefits B)Ability to quickly escape from predators/dangers C)Increased mental stimulation and improved mental health D)All of the above
48.Why is clipping a bird's wings not in the bird's best interest?
A)There is no way you can give it proper exercise-- parrots in the wild can travel 30 miles per day B)They are more fearful since they know they have no control to escape C)Birds can develop psychological issues and behavioral problems since it is an unnatural, agitating handicap D)Like de-clawing, it is solely for the owner's benefit, when it possible to adjust your household to accommodate your bird D)All of the above


Behavior:

49.What are some ways to bond with your bird?
A)Give it a treat whenever you walk by its cage B)Let it eat food with you and the family during mealtimes C)Letting it be on a play-stand in the same room as you or on your shoulder while you do other things D)Minimizing negative interactions E)Clipping its wings and making it helpless so that it is forced to rely on you F)A, B, C, and D
50.What are some body language signals that could mean a bird does not want you to do something to it?
A)Pining its eyes B)Feathers puffing up or shrinking C)Thrusting and opening its beak at you D)Cringing or moving away from you E)Biting/Screaming/Growling F)All of the above
51.Why should you listen to the bird when they don't consent to something?
A)To gain your bird's trust and respect B)Because they will be more likely to comply with you knowing that they have the choice to 'say no' C)To reduce the chances of aggression or depression in your bird D)All of the above
52.What are some common actions that make you lose trust with your bird?
A)Forcing it into or out of the cage B)Petting it too often, suddenly, or roughly C)Pushing your finger against the bird, so that it is off-balance and forced to step up D)Not paying attention to the bird's body language every time you interact with it E)All of the above
53.If a bird shows body language that it doesn't consent, what do you do?
A)Ignore the action and immediately continue to do whatever you were doing B)Stop for a few seconds then try again C)Stop, move away from bird, then try again in 5 minutes, this time showing it a tasty treat it will get if it complies
54.If your bird bites you, what is an effective way to react in order to prevent being bitten again?
A)Pretend like the bite didn't hurt, until eventually the bird knows that biting isn't going to make you stop what you were doing B)Immediately hit the bird, to reprimand it C)Make note of the body language signals the bird was giving you before it bit, and quit doing what you were doing if the bird displays that body language again
55.Why do birds bite?
A)Birds bite for no reason B)Something was forced on it that it doesn't consent to (like petting), and its gentler body language warnings have been ignored, so it must resort to biting to get you to back off C)Its wings are clipped, so when afraid of a sudden movement/noise/object, instead of 'flight', they choose 'fight' D)It wants to defend its territory/mate/food/toys/personal space from other birds, humans, or inanimate objects E)To grasp a finger or body part in order to step up for balance F)It wants something and you aren't giving it to the bird G)It is hormonal H)It is going through a confusing, emotional mood, potentially because of recent changes or it is going through a molt I)B, C, D, E, F, G, and H
56.How often do parrots bite each other in the wild?
A)Frequently, since they can't communicate with each other B)Rarely, and only over nesting disputes
57.If your bird attacks your partner, friends, or family, it could be because:
A)It sees you as its mate and thinks those people are trying to steal their partner/invading its nesting territory B)They ignored the bird's body language and refused to back off and give it space C)None D) Both A and B
58.What are some reasons your parrot could be screaming?
A)It's bored, and needs new foraging/training/toys B)To see if you or someone else is still around, a contact call C)It is lonely, and needs more attention D)It is protesting being left out of “flock” activities such as preening/eating/given attention E)Wanting peace and quiet, the house is too loud F)It is sleepy, and needs to go to bed/someone to turn the lights around its cage off/needs white-noise to block out the sounds that are disrupting its sleep G)Perceived danger H) It is hungry/thirsty/wants something I)It's hormonal J)It wants a bath when hearing water run or rain outside K)Food allergies L)Birds scream for no reason M)A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K
59.Do you expect this conure to enjoy being petted whenever you want?
A)Yes B)No
60.What things may cause hormonal behavior?
A)Exposing birds to prolonged day light cycles by keeping them awake long after sunset B)Exclusive interaction with a single human or bird flock member C)Providing nesting material or items that resemble a nest site D)Petting it on the back/too much petting E)All of the above
61.What illnesses can result from a bird becoming unnaturally hormonal?
A)Chronic egg laying B)Ovarian Cysts C)Uterine Hyperplasia D)Cancer of the reproductive tract E)All of the above
62.What unwanted behaviors can result from a bird becoming unnaturally hormonal?
A)Aggression towards or attacking anyone who is not its chosen mate B)Plucking C)Screaming whenever it does not get attention D)All of the above
63.How do you prevent the bird from becoming hormonal?
A)Only petting it on the head, and occasionally B)Busying its mind with foraging toys C)Letting it interact with all other friends/family members during mealtimes or just hanging out in the same room as them D)Making sure the amount of uvb light the bird is getting is consistently the same amount, or lowering the number of hours E)All of the above


(Correct answers:
1.Anything except for A
2.A
3.D
4.A
5.(Free points)
6.D
7.(Free points)
8.A
9.A
10.E
11.A
12.A
13.A
14.Anything but C
15.A
16.B
17.A
18.D
19.A
20.C
21.F
22.A
23.All
24.B
25.A
26.A
27.A
28.D
29.C
30.D
31.D
32.G
33.G
34.B
35.E
36.B
37.B
38.D
39.D
40.A
41.E
42.B
43.A
44.E
45.H
46.E
47.D
48.D
49.F
50.F
51.D
52.E
53.C
54.C
55.I
56.B
57.D
58.M
59.B
60.E
61.E
62.D
63.E

Required Equipment:
1.Bath pan wider than the width of the bird and at least 2 inches deep
2.One Calcium Block/Cuttlebone
3.One swing perch
4.One thin, high up perch for sleeping
5.One thicker perch to fly to
6.Two foraging toys (recommended: skewer for fresh food, foraging cups)
7.Two destructible toys (recommended: one wood toy, one shredding toy)
8.A bell toy for expression of sound
9.One uvb light
10.One lamp for the uvb light
11.Bird food
12.At least 2 birds if you cannot spend more than an hour or two interacting with them every day

Compared to someone who is allowed to buy very little for conures:

1.One dowel perch
2.One small cage
3.Bird food
4.One bird

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In summary,

If this were to be implemented:
--Animals would live longer because of better care from their newly educated owners (meaning more sales over time!)
--Uneducated people who bought a pet and had no idea about their behavior will get bitten and disappointed. Unhappy with their pet since they did not know what they were getting into before they got it, they will not buy their pets treats or toys, or may give them away to shelters where the animals will likely be euthanized. (less sales!)
--However, if the owner knew what to expect from their pet and how to bond with it, then they will have a great relationship (and therefore be willing to spend more money on them!)
--By having an easy shopping list to follow of what to buy for their animals, you get guaranteed sales, whereas if someone doesn't know what to buy for their pet since they are uneducated/ignorant of their pet's needs, they'll only buy a couple of things, especially since most employees are unaware of the animal's needs themselves. (more initial sales!)
--People may get ANOTHER animal if they realize that many of the animals you sell are social and NEED companionship. (Twice as much initial profit and food sales over time!)
--Less people would abandon their pet if they knew what they were getting into beforehand (reducing the chance that the rest of the states would follow California's idea of banning breeding and pet sales, while also making your brand look like a hero compared to your competition!)

Impulse-buyers won't buy as many products that their pets need, both initially and over time. People who don't have the money to properly care for their pet won't be coming back to your stores anyway. Most people do want to take good care of their pets, but don't think they need to research before they get them, so this way, you ensure that people do their research before they buy the pet, and ensure they buy plenty of products at your store before they go.



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