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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

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  • nate says:

    God I don’t see whats wrong with this. I wish they were ALL kept in a giant tub so i could go jump into that tub and play in a giant sea of fur. That would be tight i hope i dont crush all of them o

  • Mariia says:

    For those people out there who think animal cruelty is “Just Business” try living through the hell these or any other company owned animals go through. I guarantee you will not live to see another day. At the end of the day animals are sort of human in their own little ways. They communicate they have emotions they have FEELINGS. And sadly most of them live short torturous lives because of the abuse humans put them through day after day. Take a look if you will at your pet or your friend’s pet would you stand there idly or even participate in any of the foul things PETA has uncovered in their saddening exposs? If you yourself wouldn’t allow that to happen to you or your friends and family why then would you allow it to happen to these animals?

  • Michelle says:

    To Gen…you shut up! concerned has a right to their oppinion. And no it is not overpopulation that is causing pain to our animal friends but lack of education. Spayneuter programs are not prominent and people dont raise their children to respect animal for what they are..not pets.animals. That is why..And you know what concerned. I agree with you whole heardily but we are not discussing this now and this is PETA not Planned parenthood ie the devil…

  • Patricia Visciglio says:


  • tammy colavito says:

    This is horriable!!! We must find a better way to treat these animals that have no say in in anything that is being done to them!! We need to be there voices!!

  • Ally says:

    never shopping at any of those stores again unless its for an animal so I cna take care of it

  • Michelle Culver says:

    All I can say right now is that any person who mistreats any type of animal will be punished sometime in their horrible exsistance.I’m starting a group of people who hopefully someday will multiply across the worldfor saving the lives of animals.Maybe somewhere someone will follow what I’m doing and start a group of their own.The more people we can gatherthe better chance we have at saving more animals.If you are interested in helping mego to my facebook page and request to be my friend with a little note saying “lets kick some butt”…God Bless all the little soles that have been so mistreatenhelp is on the way my furr’friends…

  • tammy colavito says:

    I just wish people could treat them nicer and more gentlyand keep them in cleaner places with more room to move around!

  • Rollie Kenmore says:

    No surprise… Humans did this to each other…still do… The most voracious dangerous animal on earth…capable of doing great good…can also do great harm… Petco should stop selling hamsters… I don’t think kids need hamsters as pets… I am sure most of them are abused… People should be taught to be kind to animals… Petco should be fined…

  • Joshua says:

    I am so sad for these animals. I have a pet hamster and I wanted to cry when I looked at him knowing what he could have gone through. I dont understand why the government does step in a set regulations and shut them down. Nowdays people are sentenced to jail for animal cruelty what makes these people and corporations so special other than those who abuse animals on the streets. We all have feelings and this world is going to crap because of humans and not because of the animals. I am proud to say that I am also a science major and that in my anatomy courses we do NOT use any live animals to do our experiments on they are all computerized and some experiments are done on humans and thats the way that it should be. God bless all the helpless sweet animals that cannot fend for themselves.

  • Miriam Bart says:

    It’s absolutely disgusting. Some people and it seems more than others have no grasp on the beauty of life. Pet stores are animal prisons and it’s horrible that popular malls would even want them. The animals are ‘cute’ and sure they might attract people but at what cost will you go for business? I wish there was more that I could do I just don’t know where to begin.

  • Tiff says:

    oh my…I’m ashamed of how humans treat animals these days what gives them the right to do this kind of horrible acts on these creatures?! And From petco I had recently bought a beautiful conure. her name is Eclipse and she is a just the most loveable bird you could ever meet and to think she’s been treated like this once apon a time? It makes me feel horrible that such a beautiful creature has to be tormented and grabbed in such a hasty manner just to be put into a box and be shipped! those animals in petsmart and petco are in a prison! It should be stopped and the innocent animals should be handled more carefully and be treated more respectfully not be treated like a bag of dirt! Peta I respect everyone one of you for everything that you all do It’s a real blessing that you all and many others are standing in for the innocent and it would honestly be nice to see these people behind the horrible acts be sent behind bars. Keep up the good work Peta!

  • gabriela says:

    wow im not that shocked because ive kown about this. but that dosent make it right!!!! it makes me sO mad!! this is WRONG should be stopped…!!! everyone needs to do their part!!

  • Gernevieve Haven says:

    I will no longer buy my pet food from Petco or Petsmart.

  • C Davis says:

    I don’t believe in having any animals in cages yet alone this! I will never buy any items from these stores again!

  • JOY DANTINE says:

    I have hovered over a container of live small animals whether birds cats dogs mice et al I look for the weakest ones though they are all helpless now. If I bought them to save them it is considered condoning the sale of… if I stole all of them it is theft and all hopes to save them are rendered null and void. Just after Easter 2010 bunnies and chicks still abound. While I stand in a pet feed store to care for my pets I am bombarded with countless others who would onsider me radical should I make my thoughts known. I rest in the knowledge the day will soon arrive when I do not care what people who do not care about “all life” think and take on the task I know too well and have chosen to own by coming out of the darkness into the light and shine a light on the evils right along with other organizations only not with a burnthebarn down mentaility. I accept natures death but death by man’s hand I refuse to tolerate. Man over animal does not mean man mishandle animal.

  • Nick says:

    Murderers! I hate them! Poor animals! Y r they so mistreated?! What the fk did they ever do to us?! Sorry ppl i’m being real here even with coarse languagebut seriously WHAT THE FK HAVE ANIMALS DONE TO DESERVE THAT?! not counting all the other things i recently learned here at PETA. Thank God for PETA and other agencies who actually give a fk about the gentle creatures of Earthif i ever meet an animal abuser… I hate these scumbags these fing demons who dare call themselves humans. human makes up most of the word humaneif ur not dont call urself human call urself a demon so i can have a religious reason to u abusers!

  • annie says:

    I worked at this store and will say I have seen the conditions on some of these animals first hand…I never agreed with it at all but I was just an employee what difference did my concern make?? The crap I handled and endured while working for this so called animal loving store was just unbelievable…

  • Monica says:

    This is sooo wrong! I encourage everyone to adopt. We have to stop this! this is sooo unfair. I couldn’t even watch the video. These things make me cry.

  • Lisa Young says:

    I will never shop either of these pet suppliers again. Disgusting treatment of poor defenseless animals.

  • tina says:

    ugh! absolutely horrible! i don’t know how people can take this!!!!! it’s just wrong wrong wrong!!!!!

  • Walter says:

    I just don’t understand why it is so hard for those people to treat these little animals with some respect. I mean when I worked at a Pet Supplies Plus when I was younger all we carried was fish and we treated them with the highest respect even had separate tanks for sick ones and did everything we could to nurse them back to health. Thanks Peta for letting us know how irresponsible Petco Petsmart and their suppliers are ONLY animal lovers need to work at these places.

  • pam says:

    I trust animals more than people because they don’t lie steal or miss treat you and all they want is love and food

  • Patricia Riggleman says:

    They have to be stopped now. I also have a beautiful hamster name Lucus. How can we get petsmart and petco to stopp selling them if no one buys them they would not in up there o start i have no money but please let me know how we can stop this they belong in the wild anyway not in cages.

  • Preeti says:

    Thank You PETA for bringing this to everyone’s attention… PLEASE KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.. WE SUPPORT YOU IN STOPPING ALL CRUEL ACTS AGAINST ANIMALS!! Live n Let Live !!

  • doreen shanley says:

    No wonder why my hamster from petsmart ripped the other one’s stomach open. than they told me they only sell males. Well i said unless u sell gay hamsters there’s a female in the cage. “oh nonono.” We only sell males well went to Penn. on spring break and came back with four babies. I returned the babies for a free cage to seperate the two brotherslol supposedly I asked them what they would do with them and they said the would nurse them for 6 weeks then sell them. Do u think that’s possible? I would feel so guilty. But it’s their fault for selling me a female.

  • barbara says:

    Petco and Petsmart… demand your suppliers do a 360 and start treating the animals that are supplied to you are treated humanely…cameras are everywhere now… how stupid are these suppliers to allow these “idiot” employees to mistreat the animals.. Who are the real animals?

  • leah says:

    I just got back from the vets where i spent one hundred and thirty dollars on a rat i wanted to rescue and spent fifty dollars on three mnths ago…. he kept scratching himself to the point of open sores all over him he is two not expected to live much longer but the conditions he was living in i couldnt leave him! I found out the products that were expensive i was buying for him thinking i was doing good for him was causing an allergic reaction! I will no longer shop at any of the pet retail stores! the vet that saw him gave me ideas to buy online for him… and believe me i am a struggling female on my own who is willing to spend the money on what is right!

  • Mona says:

    This is unbelievable. It’s beyond me how some people can be so cruel to these fragile creatures. I will never shop at these stores! Good job to PETA for finding this out and let’s hope these people can get punished the way they deserve.

  • barbara says:

    Petco and Petsmart you are finished

  • Angie Randolph says:

    I am continued to be so sad for all these animalsmy heart truly breaks for each and every one of them.Iams recently sent me 2 free sample cans of cat foodwhich I did NOT request.I sent them back because of what they doanimal testing there is unbelievablekilling catsdogsmonkeysetc.I have also bought 3 hamsters from Petsmartand after your 1st undercover reporthow they keep they dyingdead ones in the refrigeratorwhich is overflowing with themand how they dont hve a doctor to come see the sick ones..PetCoPetSmartYOU make ME SICK!!! Prayers to all the animals that haveareand will suffer in the future…Petakeep up the good workPraise for all of you at PETA!!

  • Chari says:

    How many times does PETCO and Petsmart have to be caught before the decision is made to shut these places down entirely once and for all? That’s the only solution that would be acceptable to me since they don’t seem to get it. And to “Concerned” Abortion isn’t overlooked everyday. There are several people committed to this cause much like this one who work tirelessly to effect change. Just because people are passionate about the issues of animal cruelty doesn’t mean everything else is overlooked.

  • jill says:

    this is always my conflict with pet stores ie puppy mills small animals etc.. if no one buys them how the hell will they get out other than dying?

  • Kelli Martinez says:

    Oh My GOD!!!! I am so so DISGUSTED!! I love small animals and I too have purchased three Hampsters from PETCO in Mount Vernon Wa.. Becusae the living surondings were HORRIBLE…. They didn’t have any water very very little food and there were FLIES inside there Glass cage… It said on the window that they were FEMALES so I brought them home about to take them out to clean them one by one and noticed that ONE f hampster was not a female Wow… Im like hello cutie patootie cleaned him up and placed in a very warm cute CLEAN cage with everything Started on the other Found that She was fine but Guess what ” she was prego ” I was like so happy… So I cleaned her up and placed her in her own home and it was beautiful.. The other Hampster was a female and was so adorable and I noticed an open SORE on her left inside back leg so I took her to the Vet he stated ” that she had been bitten by a fly and was INFESTED with Maggets….GROSS!!! He told me that the best thing to do would to put her asleep beacuse she was very very sick and her body was shutting down.. I HATE putting animals to sleep but I knew she would be in a MUCH better place…. My other two Hammies I have are BEAUTIFUL and still with me thank GOD I now have five all together… I am so happy I was able to save these babies with their parents…. I know longer shop at PETCO but once in awhile I make my WEEKLY INVESTIGATIONS TO CHECK ALL ANIMALS! Go PETA!!

  • Christina says:

    These people are disgusting they should be tortured that same way they’re torturing these poor innocent animals but definitely worse. These people are cruel.

  • Bhumika says:

    its very cruel!!!…i give thanks to PETA for all the effort they are making to help this animals…no living entity animal nor humans should be treated like that…

  • Mack 531 says:

    It is easy to blame PetSmart and Petco for the abuses of others. I have patronized these stores here in Redding CA where I live and have always found them to be clean well maintained and the animals sold there to be well cared for. On the rare occasion when I have found any creature that looked ill or malnourished I have always called it to the attention of the management there and these stores have a “treatment and isolation area” setup to care for any animal that doesn’t appear to be healthy. It is easy to paint the larger stores with a broad brush. But frankly I have intentionally purchased animals from other stores just to nurse those kritters back to health. It was often a difficult and sometimes expensive choice but they never saw the kind of cruelty depicted in this film again. I believe the real culprits are the companies that breed and harvest them like cockroaches. Give me a team of likeminded Special Forces Marines and a lot of C4 and then… Maybe I’ll start with the Chinese cat and dog fur traders. They are the worst of all. Can you say “trade embargo”? Or what about “Stop shopping at Walmart?”

  • Erin says:

    I just called PETCO to express my extreme disgust with their procedures. I urge you to do the same. Until they change their ways I will tell anyone and everyone to never ever ever frequent their stores nor purchase their wares again. I am so disappointed. “A nation should be judged by the way it treats its animals” Ghandi.

  • Holly says:

    that nearly made me cry.

  • Kim says:

    Oh my!! Before I knew all this I bought a sweet guinea pig from them. Never again. I am only glad my GP is ok and survived all this!!!

  • Joanne says:

    Those people are absolutely horrible. I can’t believe this honestly. I’ve only had hamsters for pets my whole ife. They were all shared the same characterstics. Fun loving and adorable. This makes me wanna go in Sun Pet Ltd. like a mad women and sue them for animal cruelty.

  • Lily says:

    This is making me literally sick. And my heart aches just at reading what PetSmart and PETCO do to those innocent creatures. Aren’t you ashamed? I will not quit following this subject until your stores stop selling animals. And I will relentlessly forward this information to the animal protection community I am active in some of which overseas to let them know the shame that is going on here and help spread the word about people like you and your bloodstained acts.

  • Didin says:

    Hmm…. it’s commonly happen. Many pet sellers are treating their pets like those. I hate them really i do. Sometimes i’d like to buy all the pets and treat them well or free them. i’d like to sue them too but there are no laws that protect animal that not endanger when they in abuse. Hopeless animals if i can do more i’d like to help.

  • Teresa says:

    If this was a human someone would be in jail!!! A LIFE IS A LIFE NO MATTER HUMAN OR ANIMAL IT IS WRONG!!!!!! It’s just makes me mad to think that these people say they love animals and then they do this to them SAD SAD SAD!!!! I think it should be zero tolerance if you get caught then you should never be able to have any aimal.

  • jo c says:

    Oh that breaks my heart I just adore pets with all my heart and they should never be mistreated by anyone and get away with it. I will pray for abuse and neglect to stop for all animals.

  • Gino says:

    This is unbearable and horrible. Lets put an end to this cruelty no mire buying from such stores and hamster providers until they assure and publicly assure us that this cruelty will no longer prevail!!!

  • mary says:

    those son a bi need to all be shut down.anyone that brings pain to defenseless animals or people is nothing but a COWARD.

  • candy says:

    wow i used 2 buyrodents from there but after this vid!!!! wow petco u realy letme down man and my guiny pig mocha is healthy and happy in her cage and almost every day i let her outside in her coral were she can nibble all the grass she wants snd wonder round and she sees de vet and in mah book dats a great hppy animal but the way u treat youre animals makes me wanna cry! sein what mocha had 2 go thru to get to were shes at ahhh and petsmart hahahahahaha youre plane evel you sickin me with youre evil manuvers nd evil ways of caring for such small helpless animals and petco rely we love 2 c healthy happy pets! when you youre selfs make me sick hahahahaha guess what im eleven and i can keep more cae of my pets then you do!!! and good bless everyone who works and suports peta! i now i do im vegan and i voulenteer at sheelters regularly and i help tdogs from shelters get adopted i love to see healthy happy pets !!!

  • Penny says:

    Just called PETCO Petsmart. Havent bitched out someone in a while they got a handful of what i was feeling. Thanks PETA for providing us with this horrid truth this only drives me more to give animals a voice

  • Victoria says: