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Authorities Are on the Scene at PETCO and PetSmart Supplier

Written by PETA | April 22, 2010

It’s déjà vu all over again, and it’ll probably have you wondering: What is PETCO thinking? Other than, “Hey, we can make some money!”

A PETA undercover investigator worked for more than three months at Sun Pet Ltd., an animal dealer in Atlanta that sells hamsters, mice, gerbils, birds, fish, and other small animals directly to PetSmart, PETCO, Pet Supplies “Plus,” Petland, and Walmart. He documented that animals were cruelly killed, abusively handled, and kept in severely crowded, filthy conditions. Surprised?

PETA’s investigator witnessed numerous abuses. A worker put hamsters in a plastic bag and bashed them against a table in an attempt to kill them. He also reported that many sick and injured animals died after PETCO and PetSmart stores returned them like damaged goods to Sun Pet without enclosing any food or water for the long journey, instead of providing them with veterinary care or ending their suffering.

PETA turned over the investigator’s findings to law-enforcement authorities. This morning, officials descended on Sun Pet’s massive warehouse.

Sun Pet sells hundreds of thousands of animals annually, just like U.S. Global Exotics (USGE), the exotic-animal dealer that PETA investigated late last year. That investigation resulted in the seizure of more than 26,000 animals, the largest animal seizure in history. (Perhaps also not surprisingly, Sun Pet has ties to USGE. Before that hellhole was raided and shut down, Sun Pet purchased hamsters from USGE and then sold them to PETCO stores, among others!)

This is PETA’s fourth exposé revealing the abusive and filthy conditions endured by animals who are eventually sold at PETCO stores and our third exposé revealing conditions for animals who are eventually sold at PetSmart stores. Please tell PetSmart and PETCO in no uncertain terms to stop selling animals in their stores.

PETA investigations amply demonstrate that appalling neglect and abuse is just business as usual for companies that buy and sell living beings, so please tell your coworkers, friends, and everyone you know not to shop in their stores.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Phil Thompson says:

    Hunting is not cruel it is a necessary way of life!

  • Margo Dunlop says:

    I do not go to Petsmart for my food for my cats and I am glad. My two cats are rescue cats one is now 22 and the other is nearly 15. I have had many small animals over the years and taught my two boys how to look after them and treat them well. They are Gods living creatures and deserve the respect and love we would give to family if we take them into our homes. We feel pain animals feel pain take care of them they did not ask for us to be their masters neither did God

  • Genny Floyed says:

    Ugh how nasty those stores are for getting pets like that. I shop at Pet Supplies Plus and a worker there who is real nice complained to me I go there a lot to get crickets that they kept getting sick animals and that the owner was going to change suppliers. I’m sure the next supplier is no better. I am just glad that I got my hampster as a rescue! Same with both my cats and dog all rescued! How brave was your member to go undercover. I couldn’t do it because I’d be wanting to smack people. Go get them!!

  • Linda says:

    Disgusting… and so sad. Pamela I also have a dwarf hamster purchased at PetSmart that I can’t get close to no amount of coaxing will get him close to me. He will take stuff from me through the cage but runs if I put my hand in it. It’s a shame I also have had many sweet hamsters over the years.

  • Marlene says:

    I am so sad I can’t believe how anyone could harm an animal in any way. It breaks my heart. I will not buy anything from Petco or Petsmart until I hear this has stopped.

  • A. Masotti says:

    This just makes me cry whatever they do to the animals they should have done to them. I know people in general are just evil and downright disgusting.

  • jose says:


  • Veronica Santoni says:

    That is really sad and suprising! I have a houseful of animalsnone bought from these stores thankfullyand as of now I dont plan to buy any animals from any of these stores. I will continue to buy pets from family owned businesses or feed and grain stores. I never would have suspected that petco and petsmart treated animals this way.

  • Michelle G. says:

    I work at a Banfield attached to a PetSmart and we get their animas in all the time. They are always so sick it’s absolutely disgusting.

  • Tina says:

    I could never hurt even one of gods beautiful creatures. I pray during judgement day these inhuman people are treated just as they treated poor defensless animals.

  • shelby B. says:

    I cant believe some one would do things like that. If you want a hamster guinea pig or mouse. go catch one urself. all those stores should just shut down!

  • Elgrit B. Russell says:

    It is inconceivable to me how any human being can look at any living animal only in terms of money and plain greed. I don’t know the answers but whatever it takes these “warehouses” must be shut down permanently. Those stores that remain in existence must abide by humane methods and if they do not then they should be shut down too at once. Every empoyee should be screened with regard to possible animal abuse and never hired.

  • Sarah says:

    Um guys? That really wasn’t all that bad. Not the ideal way to handle animals meant to become pets but grabbing rodents quickly won’t really hurt them. You may not have noticed but rodents are pretty hardy little guys. The only thing out of the pethandling ordinary really just looks like the mass quantity. There are a lot of animals there going to a lot of stores there needs to be massive efficiency. This is in no way comparable to human abortion either. And PETCO and Petsmart? They’re mass retailers you knew that ahead of time. Every pet retailer will have its share of horror stories. It’s unpleasant but not on par with WWI WWII or Lord of the Flies. I’m also not certain earlier commenter how that last was relevant in the least but there we are. Perhaps my comment would be persuasive if I too capitalized the words I wanted to really EMPHASIZE?

  • Kim Reid says:


  • Cathie says:

    You despicable pieces of s! How in God’s name can you harm a living being in any way let alone expose them to the cruelty that you do here. Shame on you …. Karma is a good thing!

  • Cristina Priori says:

    It’s horrible. These people deserve to be treated the same way they treat these poor animals.

  • Helen says:

    Money. Not pure but simple.

  • Pamela Draper says:

    This would explain why my daughter’s dwarf hamster “Monkey” given to us by a neighbor who purchased him at PetSmart but could no longer put up with his behavior is SO aggressive tries to BITE every human hand even remotely close to him. We’ve had him over 6 months he still hisses at us. We’ll continue to give him a good home however he’ll never be like the gentle hamsters we’ve had before.

  • Tanya Vallejo says:

    I want to help animals. It hurts to even watch commercials about animal abuse. I would love information on volunteering or working for PETA. It’s the least I can do for the creatures that can’t help themselves.

  • Heather says:

    This is beyond tragic. These animals belong in their natural habitat. I will never step foot in Petsmart again.

  • Richelle says:

    It’s truly heart breaking. I’m almost torn between going and buying all the sweet helpless animals I can from these stores and not. I can’t stand to think of these creatures being treated like this but I cannot and will not give any business to them. It would be like rewarding them for their horrible unnecessary actions. Thank you for informing us of the mistreatment of not just these animals but all others as well. Thanks to you I am aware of McDonald’s KFCTysonButter Ball and much more as well as this. They should punish these people the way they punished these animals.

  • cc says:

    yet another reason to avoid petsmart…i am officially done with petsmart.

  • Kate Loree says:

    PETA undercover agents are heroes. I am so grateful to you. You are heroes. I’m not going to shop at PETCO anymore. I’m done.

  • Stephanie says:

    this is terrible. good job PETA!

  • Jasmine McLoughlin says:

    People make me so angry. How could you harm something that is so tiny it fits in the palm of your hand? How could you hurt anything living? This needs to stop.

  • heidi says:

    At least sardines are dead before being packed into a can. Doing this to living creatures who can experience pain is simply unthinkably cruel. We will never patronize such shops. Heidi Terence

  • Teresa James says:

    Stop this cruelty now!!! Use humans instead so can feel what it is like to be treated like you treat the experiment animals! It’s really disgusting!!!

  • Bob says:

    “Carole” I cannot believe you! So what if the puppy is from a puppy mill. Don’t make it suffer more atleast the family can give the poor creature a home and then the animal will forget about its past.

  • Carole Brown says:

    I never knew about this atrocious practice although I only get my pets from rescues never a pet store. WalMart usually has cheaper prices on food supplies even when PETCO or PetSmart have sales. Don’t stop going into pet stores… go in when you see a family in the small room getting aquainted with the pet tell them that if the pet store doesn’t give you the name phone number of the breeder it’s from a “puppy mill”. That will get them thinking! I make a point of doing it everytime I go to the White Marsh Mall in Baltimore.

  • chez says:

    These cruel business’ that employ cruel employees are as bad as the employees themselves i hope and pray they see all this outrage and take apropriate actions. They have a chance right now to make a 180 and do what’s right. Plus i wouldnt want the next jeffrey dahmer working for me. no thank you sir.

  • Taylor says:

    This is horrible and disgusting the people that would do something like this are gross.

  • Victoria Spira says:

    What has happened to the so called People of this world. How can anyone allow animals to suffer so much!! I suppose all they think about is MOney Money and more Money!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • stacey says:

    Do unto others animals as you would do unto yourself. Please Please Please step back and do the right thing and stop this now.

  • Le says:

    As a responsible pet breeder I am shocked at the treatment these animals received. I shop at Petco here in my town. They are caring people in fact I returned a sick animal for replacement. They took the little guy to animal hospital immediately. How do I know they did this? A week later he was in isolation cage and on special diet with meds. He was luckily adopted by a very loving family when he was well. Corporate might not care but look at the local managers and employees. Look at who your animal suppliers are.

  • Juergen says:

    This is very cruel. The US government should forbid the mass selling of animals at supermarket’s at all.

  • Shannon Saldana says:

    This is outrageous and I will not patronize these business unless they end these practices.

  • alley says:

    PETCO Petsmart sicken me! I don’t understand how anyone could treat a creature of God like that. Those animals deserve the BEST care!!!!

  • joyce winterfeld says:

    I HAVE to go to Petsmart or Peetco every week..i have so many critters in my household…but this is it ! Both Stores has lost my business until this animal abuse stops and the purchasing of these helpless little shameful of you and two faced.

  • Meaghan Hughes says:

    I will ensure that I never invest another cent into any business that partners such a despicable entity as Sun Pet. PetSmart PETCO Pet Supplies Plus Petland and Walmart you should be utterley ashamed of your conduct in wholesale funding such horrific abuse of animals.

  • Patrice-Gomale says:

    Hi Petaits me again!!! I just wanted to say that you should send me an email so that then I can ansewer the questions that my teacher asked me.Also if you want to contact me my address isPatriceGomale Ruetligger str.10 80636 munchen germany. Thank you for reading my email again and then please respond I am in grade 5 on the MIS so please dont email me with such hard words.Also you should email me so that I can ansewer the questions that the princeble and mt teacher asked me sesirly your nr 1 fan PatriceGomale PS please responed quickly!!!

  • Patrice-Gomale says:

    HI PETA how are you??? i am Patricegomale and im doing a project on aimal testing.and I wanted ask you if you could email me your email address and then we can stay in contacted….I also want to ask some questions because of my projecthere they are 1How are animals tested?? 2What do they test animals on?? 3Why are they tested 4Ethical vs. unethical make any diffrence?? Thank you very much for taking the time to read my mail and my questions sesirly PatriceGomale PSplease send me an ansewer on my questions if you can ansewer them or not…thank you very much PatriceGomale

  • Cherise says:

    I went to to simply find out about companies that do NOT test on animals. I then clicked a few other links saw the IAMS investigations burst into tears at the horrendous abuse and cruelty then read this article. I have only ever bought fish from PETCO in the assumption the wrong one at that! that they were treated more humanly than those at WalMart! I’m just going to have to find another fish supplier that is more humane than PETCO or PetSmart. So sad!

  • proud petco worker says:

    I can not answer for petsmart but i am sure they would say the same. This is a video from a warehouse. The warehouse is not owned or operated by petco or petsmart. For our stores the only time we are allowed to send animals back is if they were hand delivered by a courier straight from the company. Which means that they go straight back to the company in a matter of hours. We also call the company and submit a report requesting vet care. NORMALLY the animals are not sent back. In our store we always take the animals directly to a vet when they get sick. Then they go to our sick room where they are checked on several times a day and strictly medicated. We do everything we can to keep our animals healthy. Anyone who has had any managment experience think of it this way when you are there and watching your employees do their job correctly right? What happens when you turn your back? It is impossible to monitor all the vendors all the time but we do our best to make sure that they are reputable and take care of their animals. Before you judge all the stores ask yourself this… Do I always do everything I can possibly do to take care of my animals? Reptile owners do your animals have a fresh uvb bulb every six months? while this is not required it is what is best for them. Cat and dog owners do you feed your animal the top of the line natural food and give them the correct playtime affection and excersise? Small animal and bird owners do you take the time to clean your birds cage every single day? Cut up fresh food and veggies every single day? It’s easy to point fingers at big chain stores. Who should you really be pointing at?

  • Brenda says:

    Last year I bought my children a hamster a piece at Pet Smart and they lasted about 2 weeks after their warranty date. My children cried for days and I told them it was not their fault. Now I know for sure it was not their faults. Now I know I should go to a local pet store and not a big one. If they can do this to little hamsters then why do they have adoption agencies out of them for cats. Who knows who they are putting them with. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  • Ma. Eugenia says:

    These people have no feelings at all. I wonder if they have families how do they treat them if they do? Its so scary to think there are millions of these creeps around the world!!!What can be done to make them hear our voices?

  • Lisa says:

    This makes me so sad. Are these American companies? I am Irish and bought 3 dwarf hamsters in a pet store about 3 years ago 1 died of cancer but the other 2 are still fighting fit and so sweet. But I have often wondered where they came from before they were brought to the pet store. They are such beautiful little animals and more intelligent and sensitive than people give them credit for each with their own little personality. There is a sign in the shop saying that if the animal is not up to standard you have 3 weeks to return them…that is just so sad. I dread to think what happens to the animals who are unwanted. Thank you Peta.

  • lucy says:

    it is sad and disturbing that cruelty is happening to animals well done PETA u r so caringeverybody should follow in ur footsteps and go undercover to stop animal cruelty then we would have more of a chance of stopping animal cruelty faster.

  • Kristina Durham says:

    Its sad how the places treat thse helpless animals. But i know the Petland where i shop has loving people taking care of the animals that work at the shop. It’s a shame people are sucks jerks. Poor animals.

  • leeann tingley says:

    This is a disgrace. animals are helpless and they should be ashamed.

  • chander kumar soni says:

    sad sad sad.