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Feds Seize “Unsanitary” PETCO Products

Written by PETA | June 20, 2008

Yesterday, U.S. marshals paid the PETCO food-distribution center in Joliet, Illinois, a little visit—to confiscate a variety of pet food products that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fears may have been contaminated by rodents and other animals. It does beg the question: If a company isn’t even capable of keeping food clean and safe, how are they going to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals they sell in their stores?! Cans are simple inanimate objects ….

This seizure comes after two earlier inspections this spring at the major distribution center found “widespread and active rodent and bird infestation.”

The FDA urges anyone who has purchased canned or glass containers at PETCO stores in the states served by this center to wash the outside thoroughly and to wash their hands with soap and water. Don’t worry, though—only a few areas were affected … just Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Kansas. Oh, right, and also Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, and Minnesota. Oh, wait, sorry, I forgot to mention Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. OK, so it’s a big freakin’ deal! Way to set the bar, PETCO.

This certainly isn’t the first time that PETCO has been called out for their disgusting business practices.

PETCO has a history of selling live animals and contributing to the demand of live-animal factories, including massive breeding mills like Rainbow World Exotics (RWE), which, like puppy mills, churn out animal after animal in filthy, hazardous conditions without giving much thought to their health or well-being. PETCO stood by RWE vigorously when PETA shared with PETCO executives its findings of terrible animal suffering at the mill—and it continues to buy animals from RWE! The company doesn’t care about “its” animals or your animals; it cares about MONEY.

If you care about animals, don’t shop at PETCO (or any store that sells live animals!).

Posted by Jennifer Cierlitsky

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  • blake says:

    Personal note DO NOT BUY FROM PETCO!!!!!!!! I was wondering why the supposed “healthy” preservative free kitten food they only offer two kinds wasn’t being restocked and then was suddenly placed as 50 off. Come to find out ALL the food I have been buying from this twisted company has been RECALLED and contains wheat gluten! Horrible prices horrible service now they’re trying to kill my cat to make a quick buck and cut their losses. DO NOT SHOP AT PETCO!!!!!!

  • Tanya says:

    I had a HORRIBLE expierence at PETCO just a few days ago. I had gone into the store to buy some puppy food for my new puppy and treats for my older dog. When I opened the bag up of Iams puppy food it contained MOTHS WORMS and COBWEBS !!! Before I took the bag back I did take some pictures of the food to show my husband when he got home. I took it back to the store and of course was FURIOUS but I was very polite and calm. The cashier looked at me like I was strange and then I went back and grabbed another bag of the shelf and insisted that she open that bag up before I bought it…Good thing I asked her to otherwise I would have made another 12 hour trip back to the store because the second bag was worse than the first. She didnt say I am sorry or anything to the fact that this issue would be addresed. I went back and got a another bag of food and on my way back a clerk walked by me carrying the defective bags laughing at me and shaking his head! When I reached the cashier who was with another customer they were laughing as well and then stopped and looked straight at me shaking there heads. NOW since when is laughing at you “great Customer service” and since when does Moths Worms and Cobwebs considered “superior and better nutritional food” than a grocery store?? Funny thing is that the last bag I brought home my puppy wouldn’t eat and I ended up going to a grocery store to buy some food which he does eat and it didn’t contain worms moths or cobwebs! I called the store manager the next day and complained she blew off the whole thing so I emailed PETCO HQ and got a “canned response” saying that they will address this issue with the store manager. I have posted the pictures of the food on Facebook and PETCO has not lost one customer but my friends and there friends as well Oh being a business owner your dam straight that I told my clients and employees PLUS people at the dog park. IF you do a search on PETCO dog food and MOTHS you will come across quite a few PETCO haters as this is not the first time issues like this have been blown off OR that there was moths worms and webs in the food. I am now a MOM and POP pet store shopper. Support your local “small” pet store!

  • cally says:

    This artical posted was obviously rediculous. Petco doesnt even sell a huge variety of animals and they stopped selling rabbits and are pushing for adoption. In fact every time I shop at petco they always tell me of the many possible ways to adopt before even buying a live animal. Even then pet stores like petco and petsmart dont rely on selling animals for the bulk of their profit if this were so they’d be out of business 10 years ago. Maybe stores that sell puppys and cats…but not these stores. Pet chains like petco and petsmart offer a way to buy superior and better nutrition then grocery stores that sell foods that are filled with crap that make your animals hair and teeth fall out! Petstores make the bulk of their profit NOT from selling animals or even food…they make their profit from selling inexpensivly manufactured items such as catdog toys cloths and treats that they can make good profit margins on. Im sorry but the writer of this article is obviously biased and didnt fully do their research. oh and about the canned food thing…did you even realize that it IS hard to to keep food clean in any type of factory…all the canned vegetables that we humans eat are allowed to have a certain percentage of bug matter or other matter in them….so if humans can accept that why not animals? AT least they recalled the stuff and made a move for improvementwhile we humans are still eating bug guts in our canned green beans.

  • kelly says:

    btw for the vegetarian arguement…. Cats ARE CARNIVORES! THEY NEED TAURINE! Dogs on the other had are omnivores and they do make vegetarian dog diets… such as natural balance. As far as i know there is no healthy way to sustain a cat on a vegetarian diet. But as far as the dogs go too… Variety in food is the key to a healthy pet to ensure your pet is obtaining all the essential nutrients and minerals. AND PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE feed premium foods with less or no corn in them! no grocery store band crap! o and P.S. dont tell me I dont know what im talking about I am currently a vet med student

  • Kelly says:

    Just FYI for all u yahoos…. I am proud to call myself a petco employee… i have worked there for over 2 years as an animal care specialist. We provide immediate veterinary care to our animals.. our vet is right around the corner to our store. We ceased deliveries from RWE as soon as we heard about the unfortunate behaviors of their employees… Petco did not begin receiving deliveries from them until they had gone through many inspections thereafter including stipulations requiring supervised animal care and handling by a licensed veterinarian and more frequent inspections. We have very few animals die in our store.. and we do promote animal adoptions before anyone decides to BUY an animal. If an animal comes in from one of our vendors sick or injured we make sure it gets immediate care and seek out our higher management to contact our vendors to ensure the problem doesnt occur again. I’m not gonna lie though we have had issues with a few vendors at times… but very minor ones that have been fixed in a short amount of time. Petsmart on the other hand…. and other stores such as Jacks aquarium and pets are a disgrace to the pet industry….their stores are always dirty and smelly and their animals suffer from lack of care. This is not bc of vendor problems its staffing that leaves these animals in disease and sickness. Most store associates in Petcos are very helpful and very open to answering any pondering questions u may have about our animals we want to make sure our customers have happy healthy pets as their companions so the owner can enjoy their pet to its maximum lifespan. So please instead of going by media and peta website BS try visiting your local Petco and finding out for urself u may be surprised on how well we care for our animals.

  • Sezzy Razor says:

    Okay this is the first time I’ve ever floated around on the PETA site and I’ve been reading alot of the Petsmart and Petco blogs. I found something very interesting…. when I googled Rainbow World Exotics a site for company profiling came up called and this is what manta had on RWE “Rainbow World Exotics 4772 County Road 105 Hamilton TX 765313826 United States Map SICChild Day Care Services Line of BusinessChild Day Care Services” Child Day Care Services?!?! Dear God NO!!!

  • Lily says:

    Actually i bought that parakeet.The blind one in michigan.We get along very we..D.Don’t worry he’s doing fine.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Good lord what a bunch of scumbags! Do you have a blog Tamara? The internet may be a much better resource for us. One of my fellow bloggers joined in the “World Bloggers for Human Rights” day. Bloggers everywhere that day blogged about human rights including me. I think we should start a network of animal blogs once every month to discuss these issues. What do you think? Here’s my email

  • Tamara says:

    Maya I’ve done that…I worked on the PETNO campaign what was it 4 years ago or so?? Then the campaign was let dropped…so … I mean I do keep telling people about the chains…it’s not only PETCO… Do you know a Petco sold A BLIND PARAKEET for 12 price in a store in Michigan..oh about a month or so ago now? So whatever bozo with 10 bucks came in and bought himself a blind parakeet. I hope and pray that it was a compassionate person who knows about birds and not someone who wanted a cheap bird a novelty or both. I had an idea that the chains should relinquish obviously healthy or even sick and HANDICAPPED animals to local rescues. I tried to contact someone here…no answer even. I will keep talking to people. I DO…every chance I get… But geez a person needs help from oh I don’t know big animal rights organizations as well…

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Tamara I’m totally on your side about this. I feel frustrated as well. PETCO is obviously stonewalling people. Give up. A much better approach is to get a huge group of freinds family and supporters to write them letters telling them why you all won’t be shopping there any more. That will hurt them. Then educate people about psitticosis and the cruelty that goes on at PETCO. Remind people that buying anything there supports the animal cruelty. I always love your awesome comments Tamara! So glad to be on the same side with you!

  • Tamara says:

    Petco is up to something. I wrote them an emailjust inquiring about what I had seen about this inspection in the warehouse. I was just asking and did not identify myself as a PETA supporter. They emailed me back and said “no animals were made sick by this” that is a paraphrase but you get their drift. They then put a link in the email to a statement from some corporate big wig about this issue. Basically saying the same thing their email to me had said. AND the press release was dated the same day as my email to them. I wrote them back and asked what about people? were there any people made sick from this as the FDA saw fit to recommend wiping your hands the cans and bottles from Petco and the area that the cans and bottles were located. That was 2 or 3 days ago and I have gotten no response. Also the press release statement on their site that I was directed to has now been removed. What a bunch of scumbags… Peta should really follow up on this they need some pressure to straighten up their act about some aspect of their business. I am sick and tired of them doing this kind of thing and playing games. They are up to something. Or maybe not. Maybe they think by deleting it it will go away. Maybe I was the only person who contacted them about it so they thought they better remove the press release so no one found out about it that way… Is anything going to be done? They can’t be given a free pass forever on everything… Am I the only one who even really cares about this??

  • joanna says:

    Two comments My god the poor fish at petco made me so sad I just walked out and never went back. I love my guppies and saw the sickest tank of them at Petco how they could even sell them was beyond me. Guppies may be the mosquitos of the fish world but they are smart and adaptable and deserve the same respect that all animals do. They are also easy t okill if you take care of them like Petco does. Petco Petsmart treat them like they are GARBAGE and just throw them in the trash after killing them slowly. At Petsmart I personally saw the fish person throwing nearly dead fish in the trash with dead ones. No concern at all. Second I have to say a grain based diet for a dog can cause serious health issues so be wise and follow the advice of a holistic vet before experimenting with your dogs diet. My dog was very sick til I removed all grain from his diet. I replaced the grain with vegetables and he also gets some poultry. I think maybe all dog breeds are not the same so be sure your not making your dog sick by forcing himher to eat vegetarian diet. If you are really against meat and all the environmental consequences of its production and use…consider getting a vegetarian pet. My sister replaced her 20 year old cat when it died with a house rabbit. She and the rabbit are very happy since now the entire house is on a vegetarian program.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Oops I meant to say cats are not OMNIVORES they are obligate carnivores. Sorry!

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Allison and Dave Dogs may be fine on a vegetarian diet. Ask your vet. Dogs are not carnivores they are omnivores like us so they are often able to eat vegetarian. Cats are not just carnivores they are obligate carnivores. So a vegetarian diet is absolutely out of the question for them. By the way the best thing to do is to buy from any grain store which does not sell pets and Wellness and California Naturals are good products. And WRITE TO PETCO and tell them why you won’t be shopping there any more. They won’t have any idea they did not lose a customer unless you tell them.

  • Tamara says:

    Et tu Cesar et tu?? OMG The Dog Whisperer has sold out…PETA I think it’s time he received a letter… I copied this from PETCO’s home page… “Cesar Millan the renowned dog behavioral specialist and star of National Geographic’s hit show “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan” will soon launch a new line of branded merchandise for dogs including organic dog food and other products and accessories as well as online coaching. The “Dog Whisperer” line of products will be available exclusively at more than 900 PETCO stores nationwide and on in summer 2008. Among the products in the “Dog Whisperer” line are Organic wet and dry dog food treats and chews Fortified water Liquid supplements Collars and leashes Toys Grooming products Beds Bowls feeding supplies Instructional series of DVDs”

  • Aleasha says:

    Thank you US Marshalls! This wouldn’t be the first time Petco was in trouble. Rainbow World Exotics RWEis a hideous dump that only cares about profits.

  • Dave says:

    Vegetarian dog food?…for a carnivore? Oh that makes sense.

  • jennifer Gardner says:

    try vegetarian dog food!

  • allison walker says:

    is there anything we can do? other than just not shopping there?

  • Tamara says:

    WOO HOO! We’re back onto PoopCo!! about time PETA I must say! One chain pet store is as bad as the other there is no difference…both stores rely on selling innocent small living creatures for the bulk of their profit… Hooey on all this “goodwill” they try to create in the “community” with dog and cat adoptions. They make a mint there too. Do you honesty think mom dad junior adopt a cat or dog on Saturday or Sunday and do NOT walk out without purchasing a boatload of…dog and cat crap? Apologies to dog and cat lovers but when the chains sell it it’s crap Keep the pressure on BOTH stores PETA… please keep the pressure on both chain pet stores! I still have some of the “PetNo” flyers and signs too actually …can I hand the flyers out again??