Stand Against the Negligence of Noah's Ark Pet Store in Joplin and Neosho, Missouri
This petition had 5,824 supporters
I believe that the negligence of animals and unhygienic conditions which take place behind the scenes at Noah's Ark Pet Store should be recognized and that legal action should be taken by PETA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Here are a few reasons why.
During the summer of 2016, I relocated to Joplin, Missouri and was in between jobs for a while. I noticed a job posing on Facebook by Noah's Ark in mid-August, turned in my resume and was offered the position. I thought it would be a very exciting and rewarding experience to work with and take care of animals all day, but I still can't comprehend how wrong I was.
On the first day of work, the initial red flag I noticed was that the owner asked me to sign a "contract" that explained something along the lines of not being allowed to slander Noah's Ark publicly. I now know this is because of the conditions in the building and the fact that he did not want an angry employee to spew all of the disgusting secrets of that place around town. Because, of course, it would be bad for business. (I also know now, after doing some research that said contract is not legally binding, and therefore, will not hold up in court.) I would also like to mentioned that even if said contract was legal, I will not be breaching it in any way because I am not committing slander against Noah's Ark, but simply speaking out about my employment experience with them.
When I initially walked into the back room of the building on my first day, the smell almost made me gag. The place was a filthy disaster. I do realize that a pet store is not going to be spotless or smell the best because animals are neither of those things, however the filth of that back room was so horrendous and nauseating that you would not be able to imagine it without seeing it for yourself. Lying around were all kinds of supplies that hadn't been cleaned in what seemed like weeks, and even filthy, feces covered towels were scattered all over the ground.
For the short two weeks I worked at Noah's Ark, I saw more sick puppies than I should've seen in that short amount of time, (or any amount of time, for that matter). One that I particularly remember was a sweet English Bulldog that I was completely in love with. He was extremely sick the entire time he was there. Runny nose, wheezing, coughing, and the poor baby never wanted to get up and walk around, which as we all know, is not normal for a puppy. Finally, he got so sick that they moved him to one of the back cages so the customers wouldn't see him. The next day, I came into work and he was gone, so I asked where he went. They said they had taken him to the Neosho location (I worked at the Joplin location). I thought it was odd that the dog had been so sick the day before, but had improved enough overnight that they could take him to sell at the other store. So that evening, I called the Neosho store and asked if they had any English Bulldogs for sale. They told me that they did not and most likely would not for a while. And to this day, I have a horrible feeling that that poor baby died because of the lack of care and knowledge of the owner and his employees. He was the only puppy I noticed disappear during my employment, but there were a handful of puppies (out of nearly forty) who did suffer from some kind of sickness.
Don't let my speculation convince you, though. The owner and employees of Noah's Ark will argue that the animals cages are cleaned often and that they are regularly bathed. Of course the animals in the front are treated that way, because heaven forbid a customer see an animal in any other condition. However, please remember that I previously mentioned horrendous conditions in the back room of Noah's Ark. The worst part about that back room was the two cages which measured about five by three feet and held about six puppies in each. Those sweet puppies in the back (that most customers have no knowledge of) are treated far differently than those in the front. They literally sit in their own feces day in and day out. The entire two weeks of my employment, I was never once told to give any of the puppies in the back cages a bath, nor did they receive one. The animals in the front get baths simply for show, not because the owner believes they should have one regularly. That's why the puppies in the back are neglected so much and forced to sit in their own filth, because they are not trying to make a sale with them.
Here is a summary of a message I received from another previous employee (who chooses to be anonymous) who was there for a greater time than I was. The account is absolutely horrendous.
"I quit a little over 2 years ago. (Mr. Harris) is a liar who doesn't follow through with his contracts and sells sick puppies. My second week there I opened the fridge and decided to look inside of the foil that had been in there since I started, and it was two dead puppies. Of course he made up some crazy story to cover it up. I dismissed it, thinking that things do happen. He said he was in a dispute with the breeders. That they had bought them sick. He literally abuses the puppies if they wrestle or fight. Not to mention if they aren't cooperating when he is trying to get a picture of them for his Facebook page.
Being the manager- I would take dogs in on days he wasn't there. (I'll give you a few examples, but things like this happened on a weekly basis there.) If someone would come in wanting to sell a puppy, I was to call devin, or send pictures. He would take in muts. (For free) Not even the people who brought them in knew what they were, and the next day he would have them named a random breed (sheprador or whatever). He would mark them anywhere from $1000-$1600! One time he bought a Chinese crested and poodle mix and just conveniently changed it to a maltipoo because it would be an "easier sell". He takes puppies in well before they are 8 weeks old. He buys from giant puppy transporters not the small local breeders he claims.
If a puppy was sick he would make an employee take it home to try and nurse it back to health because he would never take them to the vet.
On a holiday the manager at the time in neosho, said she was unable to take a hypoglycemic maltese home because she was having family issues, and he fired her! So I had to take it. I was giving it fluids by syringe and needle all night per his instruction trying to keep it alive. This dog was SO sick. He got so bad that I was no longer comfortable and called devin saying that this dog was going to die if I didn't bring it to a vet. He said no, and I told him I was going to anyways, that I wasn't letting the dog die. So he told me that he would meet up and take the dog to his vet in neosho. Which he didn't. He let the dog die. He does not care about the animals. A cat in neosho had an awful eye infection and died from it.
At this point, all of the employees got together and called animal control. To try and report it. They came, but did nothing. He fired everyone but me. I ended up quiting shortly after.
(Mr. Harris) puts all of the birds in that open bird cage even though they are different species, and an African Grey killed about six other birds overnight due to his negligence.
I'm sure you know that he is always right, everyone else is an idiot. If you question anything he gets so defensive and will scream and cuss at you. He called the cops on a customer AT LEAST every month. Because they were questioning the health of the animals or the conditions that they were staying in. He will literally say anything to make a sale. I witnessed one time a family looking for a 20ish pound hypoallergenic dog, and our standard goldendoodle pup miraculously became a mini!"
If that does not sway you, I don't know what will.
Another thing I found extremely odd was that the staff or owner could never offer me any useful information about caring for the animals. As a new employee, I was supposed to be learning, so of course I asked questions. Those questions ranged from how to treat a puppies cold, to something as simple as how old a puppy was or what their adult weight may be. My co workers and boss never seemed to be able to answer any of those simple questions, and they always had an excuse why. For example, if I asked what the adult weight of one of the puppies may be, I was told that I didn't need to know because if a customer asked me, the sale should be about what they wanted to hear, not what the truth was. This proves that they are focused wholeheartedly on sales and simply unknowledgeable about animals, otherwise they would have been able to answer a question as simple as that.
Something else that is extremely alarming to me is the way that Mr. Harris scolded the puppies. If they were acting or roughhousing (you know, like puppies do) in any way he would push on their nose and grab their muzzle tightly enough to where they could seemingly barely breathe until they whimpered enough for him to let go. It was against the rules to let any customer see the puppies acting up, and that's what I was told to do if they acted up in any way at all.
During my last couple of days there, one of my coworkers and I noticed that the baby macaw seemed like it was sick. I believe that the macaw seemed too young to be out anyway, but of course Mr. Harris knows best. When my co worker took the bird out of the cage and to the back, I continued closing up the store that evening. I walked to the back a few minutes later and the bird had died. My coworker insensitively wrapped it up in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer until the next day so it 'wouldn't smell.' This was the final breaking point for me.
Devin Harris will explain to you time and time again that their puppies are from independent, local breeders and not puppy mills. Why is it, then, that almost every puppy they have for sale is sickly from day one? Also, if their animals are in such fantastic shape, why is it that Mr. Harris and his employees feel the need to lie to customers about the condition of the animals in order to make a sale? And the biggest question of all, why is this negligence and mistreatment of sweet animals going on every day at Noah's Ark with no repercussions whatsoever?
Numerous people have spoken out about their sweet animals dying within days of being taken home from Noah's Ark, and even more reports of puppies that were noticed to be sick immediately afterwards. They have also been clear about the carelessness and lack of cooperation from
the stores owner, Devin Harris in these situations.
But don't just take my word for it. Believe the many people that have purchased (sick) animals from Noah's Ark only to have them die within days or weeks.
Believe the hundreds of comments on Kelly Blundell's Facebook post about an ill bird at Noah's Ark recently. https://www.facebook.com/kelly.blundell.18/posts/1545518178797160
Believe Melissa Tate, a woman who endured a heartbreaking experience due to the death of her beloved puppy, Alley, only days after purchasing her from Noah's Ark. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=774744599324734&id=513932202072643
The animals that are taken hostage at Noah's Ark for the owners own greed deserve far better than what they are receiving there. They deserve a happy, healthy life. Not living in their own filth and being stuck in a cage with five other dogs and no room to move around twenty-four hours a day. Not being fed limited amounts only once in the very early morning hours and once again in the evening, (because they can't feed them during the day, customers will see them "act up" over the food). Please help me, the many others who have had horrible experiences with Noah's Ark, and the sweet babies who are neglected daily by taking a stand and signing for action to be taken against Noah's Ark Pet Store.
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