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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.
  • Denise LaChance says:

    I have not bought anything from Petco or PetSmart since the first investigation of one o ftheir vendors revealed horrendously cruel treatment. I have been meaning to and will send my frequentbuyer cards to them with an explanation.

  • Natalie says:

    I work at Petsmart and when we receive animals the supplier is named Rainbow… not Sun Pets.. and we are given VERY strict orders on how to treat a pet and care for one We at my Petsmart that i work in LOVE CARE and have RESPECT for the animals. I hate this video tho it made me cry. If Petsmart has anything to do with buying from Sun Pets i will be very much disappointed

  • Ewald says:

    Just awful I want to hurt her myself just smash her into the ground and stuff like that. I have no words for it… ‘

  • Roxanne says:

    Today I went to the Montgomery Agricultural Fair in Gaithersburg Maryland. There were at least 150 rabbits crammed into one small barn with only 10 or 15 fans running. There were so many people in there. Their water was dirty and their cages were digusting. Most of the animals were breathing very rapidly looking quite frightened. Even I. wearing shirt and a tshirt was sweating bullets in there. This same treatment was happening to cows pigs goats sheep and horses. It’s ridiculously crazy here in Maryland right now. Does anyone know how I could contact someone to do someone investigating into the fair’s treatment of their animals. It’s inhumane and must be stopped.

  • Sheryl R says:

    I will NEVER buy from Petco or Petsmart AGAIN!They post signs with LIES in theirs stores! “ANIMALS ALWAYS COME FIRST AT PETCO. Concerns? Speak to a manager or call our Care Hotline 8888247257. PETCO’s Vendor Certification Program helps ensure that the animal vendors we work with match our high standards of animal care. Our program also guarantees that the pets are delivered to our stores in a manner that meets or exceeds the USDA standards set for all companion animals.” How can Petco say this while they are STILL using SUN PET as a major supplier!? WARN EVERYONE YOU KNOW about Petco and Petsmart’s lack of CARE for animals. We need to be the animals’ voices and Boycott ALL PET SHOPS! Pet shops are concentration camps owned by money hungry ignorant idiots who could give a crap less about living creatures suffering. Pet shop owners and suppliers see animals simply as “merchandise” not as living breathing beings who feel pain and suffering just as much as us humans do. We MUST ONLY buy from animal shelters to ensure that we are NOT funding animal cruelty. All of us together WILL MAKE a DIFFERENCE!!!

  • Sandra Lind says:

    Petcos corporate offices are located in San Diego California….but there is no street address. I agree any employee who takes an order from a moron manager to kill animals in the store should be fired. ITS KILLING A LIVING BEING HERE!!!!! The intention was premeditated before hand to kill them. No mercy….sorry I would have the death penalty for people who intentionally harm or kill any animal. animals for food should ALL Be killed as humanely as possible…AFTERALL they ARE KEEPING US FED lets show them some respect for giving up their lives for us!!!!!

  • Sandra Lind says:

    I couldnt even feed frozen mice to a snake at a Nature Center once.!!! I agree with some posts here animals that fall prey in the wild have a chance to get away. When you drop them in a tank its not fair to both species really….one gets lazy cause his food just miraculously appears from above and the other is terrified and cornered and has no chance of escape. Nature is not pretty at times. But I wont shop at Petco or PetSmart for anything pet related and will let everyone I know about it.

  • Kara says:

    I bought 2 healthy people loving rats from petsmart. They said the rats came from a small breeder in Florida. I dont know if they all come from Sunpet

  • Alfredo Kuba says:


  • Jane Brennan says:

    Discusting. Pet stores should not be selling animals. Criminal charges should be brought against anyone abusing animals even those who are employed by these pet stores.

  • v says:

    There an old medieval machine called trebuchet. It has a long arm and it was used to hurl boulders and such over long distances. Simply put one of those assholes that harmed the hamsters in a big trash bag attach to machine ready it for long and fire. They will slam down to the ground and die. Good. Firing those criminals was too good. Repeat the process with everyone involved in the animal cruelty.

  • Isabel says:

    Hope that PETA can minimizeend this awful reality. I don’t know why mankind still is so poorly emotionally and morally developed.

  • charmaine says:

    It seems to me that the legal system and these corporations are taking the actions very lightly! The fines and suspended sentences are a joke. Humanity has to learn to talk and think about animals in a different way. A way that does not make another sentient being into a piece of property or a commodity. No one should have ownership of an animal. If our laws covered the protection of animals in their own right just as we are it would be the start of a reform. Go after the legal system that endorces this kind of shabby behaviour because they still think man is the superior being!

  • maria swartz says:

    Dear Peta South Africa is crying for your help. Their are the most horrible insufficient laws available for the abuse of animals. Why do humans go to prison when they kill or beat other humans but animals why because we eat them its ok…Please consider opening a branch here I would be your first employee..

  • Candice Pope says:

    Personally I WANT to buy animals from there so I can take in as many of those poor little critters as possible and give them the life i deserve….i mean boycotting isn’t helping so shouldn’t we want to make a difference in as many animal’s lives as possible?

  • DEBRAMARIE says:

    It is very simple. God left us with one thing to do…care for the animals. And we couldn’t do even that. I will not support any business who supports animal cruelty in any way shape or form. Everyone can make a difference!

  • emily says:

    it breaks my heart to see people hurting animals like that and hope they stop! thank god for peta. p.s i have 2 lizzards3 dogs 5 cats 5 bunnys 1 chickhen3 hamsters and 1 mouse. 0

  • Alex says:

    Dont buy anything in this places and spread the word ppl youtube is a powerfull tool for activism.

  • L says:

    PetSmart is not so smart and Petco better let the animals go. Cuz animal lovers is not going to tolerate it therefore we’re going to have to put you out of business by not shopping with you anymore. I pledge to no longer support these to pet stores. L

  • Yvonne Taylor says:

    I have talked to the Petsmart management before. The store and people i dealt with were wonderful but Petsmart Management is NOT! I found out that the company that ships the animals in Big trucks to the stores is really horrible too. The vet the store used was questionable at best as well. My experiences with that company were heartbreaking long story too long to tell here but I have kept all the Emails with the management.

  • claudia says:

    Ever since I saw the video I promised myself not to buy ANYTHING else at Petsmart Petco or Petcetera…. Or anywhere else where live animals are sold… Instead I buy my supplies at superstores or small pet stores that don’t sell any live animals. I think it’s cruel to have animals such as lizards snakes ferrets and so on.. And it’s even worst when you have to feed them with other live animals like crickets or mice… I find it disgusting… Altough I understand that this will not make a sudden change my attitude and my money are not benefiting any of those stores… Neither are the persons that I have shown the video to…. One person doesn’t make much of a diference right away but we all together can change and redefine those horrible methods… Don’t buy at those stores … You know it’s wrong !!

  • Ana Paula Lepique says:

    I think an important attitude from an animal welfare commited consumer is to stop being a PETCO costumer. Persornally I do not purchase anything else from PETCO.

  • Colo43 says:

    A fine and 3 yrs probation is clearly not enough. i will not shop at petco or petsmart either. Any party that caves to deceit is as guilty and will not get my business.

  • Vanessa says:

    I stopped going to PetSmart and PETCO a long time ago in favor of local pet store that treat their animals more ethically and have better attitudes toward their pets like not getting their puppies from mills. I encourage everyone I know to do the same.

  • gail spangler says:

    I have a lot of pets and spend around $500 a month on pet food at Petsmart but I will no longer shop there anymore. Even zoos no longer feed anything live. It’s inhuman and cruel. I intend to tell everyone I know and ask them to tell everyone they know. I actually bought a mouse at Petsmart one time because it was injured and they weren’t doing anything to help it. I took it to the emergency vet and a vet tech adopted it. How terrible they still haven’t improve their regulations for dealing with pets. I’m done. I’ve spent my last dollar at Petsmart and Petco.

  • Elizabeth Jowers says:

    I adore Hamsters raise Syrian Hamsters who are cuddle bunnies. I can’t imagine anyone doing to any animal what I have read. I know nothing about Sun Pet but will not buy anything from a company that buys from them.

  • juliana says:

    oh my gosh i coulnt even finish watching those hampsters i got my gerbils from pet smart but from now on ill get animals from my towns shelter petco you out to be so ashamed i think they should all be shut down now! i hate them!

  • Susie says:

    After watching the video I immediately called the corporate Customer Service line at PetCo and told them that until they stop buying from Sun Pet I will boycott their stores. I promised to do my best to spread the word among my on line animal advocacy community of over 1300 people. When they countered with a statement about humane treatment being a priority I let them know that if that is the case they must stop buying from Sun Pet they must stop shipping “damaged” animals as returns as if they were inanimate items and start providing vet care and humane treatment to all the animals they pruchase. I told them that I am aware that they have a business to run but that if they chose to be in an animalrelated business then they also chose an ethical responsibility to provide humane treatment for every creature that enters their stores. I will call Petsmart tomorrow to have the same conversation with them.

  • Cynthia says:

    I hope the “upper echelon” of PetSmart reads this and thinks about what they’re doing to these poor defenseless animals all in the name of “greed”. Yes I too once shopped at Petsmart but no longer will I give them my business. There are plenty of other good places to shop.

  • jr says:

    Find the little Mom Pop stores that sell only supplies and high quality foods and support them instead. Ironically I’ve noticed that PETCO’s products are higher priced that the Mom Pop stores and since they have more buying power this tells me they are also gouging consumers. Stick with the small pet stores.

  • Marisa says:

    Not only does Petsmart look the other way with something like this they also allow so called “pet adoption” groups free space to make money on “adoptions”. Long story short Kingston Petsmart namely AWAN adoption took 3 cats I found outside and PAID THEM to make certain they were adopted to people that I could check out myself follow up on. They took 2 animals adopting them to PO Box addresses and when I asked my friends who were investigators to locate the actual addresses one cat wouldn’t come out from under the bed for a week the other was a crack house! The third was brought back because it was probably abused by a child in that house as it urinated on the couch which it was not doing when I had it! Then I when returned they claimed the animals “DISAPPEARED”! No known addresses etc. I called and called Helen Mosko who ran AWAN she would only hang up on me!! She wouldnt take my calls. I believe they went to research as this was way to bizarre not receiving “my deal” or any info. No one cared when I tried to get AWAN shut down!! That was 2003…they are still there. Petsmart calls them weekly to “See” if they have adopted out cats for use in their ad campaigns on how many are adopted… AWAN told me about this before they shunned me.

  • Bonita Leslie Hirai says:

    Amanda. Your snake will eat frozen mice or other meat if you persist. It’s like trying to change a fussy cats diet. Eventually he will eat them. I don’t blame you for your feelings about using live animals as snake food. In the wild the animals have a fighting chance and the process is quick and natural.

  • Brian says:

    A pox on all their houses. I won’t set foot in any of these evil places. What right do humans have to treat nonhuman animals the way they do?

  • teresa says:

    I have a petsmart card and i used to buy my dog and rabbit food there but i promise you and petsmart i am no longer shopping at petsmart.

  • Nicola John says:

    Amanda don’t have any more pets that have to eat live prey. In the wild the prey animals have a sporting chance. I pity the mice who end up in a glass tank with your python with no hope of escape.

  • Audrey says:

    Killing is neanderthal. Humans have evolved SO far yet this hasn’t. I understand it may be human instinct to kill to survive…but I highly dought it’s human instinct to kill or abuse for thrill. I believe it has nothing to do with the “love of god” being the only way to change things it’s up to humans to evolve and realize that putting hamsters in a bag and smashing them on a table is wrong and disgusting.

  • Audrey says:

    I hate to say it and I know it’s going to sound bad but Georgia has got to be one of THE worst states for animal cruelty cases if not THE worst all forms of animal crueltyneglect not just this. Not sure what’s going on down there to cause this mentality but it’s got to stop!

  • Diana Covington says:

    It has been the nature of mankind to kill both humans and animals since the beginning of time. All the “civilized” sophistication in the world does not stop mankind from being what it iscruel selfish and thoughtless of others man or beast. Only the love of God will change the evil that is present in the hearts of the abusers. It is my prayer that the love of God will protect the dear innocent animals that deserve no harm.

  • Steven Weinberg says:

    In Petsmart’s defense they do allow the PSCPA to come in once a week with dogs and cats as well as other adoption groups to get the word out about adopting from shelters.

  • Georgina says:

    i dont understand why no one will close them down themselves if i was in americca and personally make sure they dont sell or breed animals again ! actions speak louder then words so get out there and stur things untill you get a change its the only way .

  • Leslie says:

    It was so hard to see that because i have a hamster named Aztec and i love him so much..

  • Cassie says:

    There is a sign under one of the rat cages and it reads as follows “ANIMALS ALWAYS COME FIRST AT PETCO. Concerns? Speak to a manager or call our Care Hotline 8888247257. PETCO’s Vendor Certification Program helps ensure that the animal vendors we work with match our high standards of animal care. Our program also guarantees that the pets are delivered to our stores in a manner that meets or exceeds the USDA standards set for all companion animals.” I took a picture of this sign in disbelief… I mean cant they get in trouble for such a lie!? I called the number provided and asked for the names of their vendors. I stopped the lady after she read off about 15. Tragic.

  • Ellie says:

    Thank you for posting about the evil that is these wholesale chain pet stores. I can’t stomach the video but know it’s a daily occurrence for most stores and we need to remind ourselves of that whenever we see a cute animal as hard as it is or else they will never go out of business.

  • Elaine says:

    Thank God for Peta and all their wonderful work to try to rid this planet of evil monsters who continually abuse Our dear animals. I wish they may long continue their Good work. God Bless any human that does the same.

  • Laura says:

    Looking for an ethical pet shop? Yes go to any that do not sell animals the ones that sell only supplies. That way you KNOW you aren’t part of the trade in little animals some of whom end up dying slowly in back rooms

  • Amanda says:

    I have a ball python He eat’s mice There’s nothing i can do about that and I just cant feed him the frozen ones anyway I have to buy mice for him It breaks my heart when he eats them but hes part of our family. what should I do?

  • Anonymous Poster says:

    This is a bit dramatic isn’t it? You have to remember that Petsmart and Petco aren’t “evil” just because they bought from Sun Pet. You have to remember that they are trying to run a buisness and may not have known that they weren’t replaced. Don’t punish them for it simply don’t buy any Sun Pet products

  • Anna says:

    im not going to watch this but i hope peta you can save all the animals….especially in asias zoo’s x

  • yolibeth says:

    Ever since i found out that PetCo and PetSmart are evil I haven’t laid a foot on those stores. But i still am looking for a cruelty pet store. Can anyone help me? For my dog.