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PetSmart and PETCO Animal Supplier Gets Slapped …

Written by PETA | August 13, 2010

… With a $3,000 suspended fine and two years of probation from the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA)! It’s the least that Sun Pet deserves, considering that PETA’s undercover investigator took video footage of one of the animal dealer’s employees—who has since been fired—placing hamsters in a bag and bashing it against a table in an attempt to kill them. The investigator also documented that other animals were being abusively handled and warehoused in conditions that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.


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None of this appears to matter to PetSmart or PETCO, whose stores continue to sell animals supplied by Sun Pet despite findings by not only the GDA but also the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The GDA’s April 22 inspection found rodents running loose, dead animals (including eight guinea pigs) in enclosures with live ones, food thrown into cages and on top of bedding, and rusty cages with sharp, dangerous edges, which Sun Pet was ordered to replace immediately (but didn’t). According to the consent order, inspectors also found live rats climbing out of a trash can.

Eighteen days after the GDA inspection, the USDA—prompted by a PETA complaint—inspected Sun Pet and found the same jagged, rusty surfaces on the facility’s chinchilla cages as well as severe crowding, inadequate lighting, accumulations of trash and rodent droppings, and deteriorated animal carcasses. The USDA also noted that in a repeat violation of federal law (which Sun Pet had been warned about in February 2009), the company had been buying animals from unlicensed vendors and selling them to pet stores such as PETCO and PetSmart.

PetSmart’s execs apparently need a reading lesson, because in PetSmart’s official response—sent to PETA before the GDA’s investigation was officially closed—they claim that “the Georgia Department of Agriculture … conducted two thorough investigations since [PETA] issued [its] allegations. The first investigation resulted in one citation for a rusty chinchilla cage which was immediately replaced. The second investigation resulted in no violations.” (“Immediately replaced”? Really? Then why did the USDA find the same dangerous cages almost three weeks later?) PETCO has not officially responded to PETA, but as of this week, it is still doing business with Sun Pet, according to its vice president of animal care and education, Marcie Whichard.

More on this soon. In the meantime, we can take “disciplinary action” against Sun Pet and other sleazy animal dealers by never buying mice, hamsters, rabbits, fish, birds, or any animal from a pet store or breeder and by steering others who are considering getting an animal away from pet stores and toward animal shelters.

Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post

Commenting is closed.
  • Annette says:

    If you want to adopt a pet rat, please adopt from rescues like ours! We are an all volunteer organization with limited funds, but we do the best we can for all rodents.

  • Sandra Kennedy says:

    For the person with a ball python, go to They ship mice and rats for fair prices that are raised in humane conditions. Check it out.

  • Jay says:

    WOW!!!!! this is crazy!!! why would petco and petsmart do this? THEY ARE *****.

  • Jessica says:

    I have never bought an animal from a pet store but I will no longer buy supplies from pet stores that sell animals either. For those of you looking for a humane pet store, shop only at those that do not sell live animals! (note that some have a few animals available from a local humane society. They feature them to help them find homes. So if they are from there that’s okay)

  • Paulette says:

    I am so confused about the way Petco and Petsmart treat their animals. How is it they go all out in time of disaster to provide crates, food, and anything else needed for the animals. I don’t get it.

  • Katy says:

    The way these animals are treated in these places is sick beyond words. There are no words strong enough to describe the horrendous cruelty these poor animals have to go through. These cruel people seem to forget that afterall we are animals to. I bet they have never stopped and thought about how their appaling behaviour has affected these animals not just physically but mentally and psycologically too. How would they like to be treated in such horrific ways?? I believe that any company or store that is found to even have the slightest thing to do with any animal cruelty should be reported and shut down straight away. It should also be publisised who they are and what they were doing so that if their name comes up on anything again they should be dealt with and got rid of again. I think for these evil people a short prison sentence or fine is nothing and does not change the way they behave so i feel that harsher measures punishments should be enforced. If we all work together i believe we can destroy all of these companys and give all animals the respect and positive attention they deserve so that they can live the happy and peaceful lives they deserve.

  • Anna Kerruish says:

    I cannot watch these types of videos it hurts too much. Lets talk about the employee who is doing the actshe is quilty guilty guilty. I will need to do my homework rePetco until then I will not be purchasing product from them until I get the real story. My three cats will love me for it.

  • Genna says:

    I used to be one of the managers of a PetSmart store. There were several issues with the small animal shipments such as sick or injured animals. If noticed on delivery the animal would be sent back. I know the store I worked at recieved the deliveries from rainbow and other vendors. I don’t understand why they didn’t look into this knowing all the documented issues they have with the animals they recieve. It’s kinda sad because corporate has very strict animal care guidelines for all the stores. That are supposed to be inforced. The store I worked at was great with following all procedures animal care was top priority. But I have heard stories of other stores not functioning that way and seen some results of that. That was due to employees not being educated or caring about animal care and the managers not doing thier job. So if these stores can’t properly take care of these pets and get them from horrible places they should not be allowed to sale them. How can these companies use thier slogans “Where pets are family” and “where the pets go” and be content with the way these animals were treated. I wouldn’t let my family be treated that way!!! Happy to say I no longer work for that company!!!!

  • Thea Marwinske Potts says:

    I can’t believe a person could hurt an animal the way. To starve in a box or be beaten to death this is beyond cruel. Thank heavens people are trying to put a stop to this. I have several small pets and love them like no other and to see this brings tears to my eyes.

  • Joan says:

    I not only feel sorry for these animals involved but for the children who own these pets and hamster lovers everywhere for your cruel a nd sick act.

  • James says:

    Appalling lawsuits and jailtime would be too good for those freaks.

  • giovanna gramignano says:

    shame very shame for pet smart giovanna gramignano italia

  • Joanna says:

    OMG! i did not knew tat!! I beggan crying the first 4sec of the video!! ugh why dont ppl respect animals!! its not hard at all!!!

  • Heather s says:

    Feed stores are a good or go to privately owned stores. Ask them about where and they get their animals food etc. I go to a really awesome feed store they don’t buy animals or have animals regularly in the store but they have adoptions every weekend where animals are brought in and found new homes

  • Jackie says:

    This is such depressing information. I already boycott PetLand for their puppymill infractions and now PetsMart PetCo? Looks like the little ones will win out but there are so very few left.