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PetSmart Responds to Our Investigation

Written by PETA | January 28, 2008

Here’s what PetSmart spokesman Bruce Richardson had to say when he was asked about the shocking video footage revealed by our recent investigation into a PetSmart supplier in Texas:

“I don’t know what those images say. … Just because you see a dead pet, does that mean there was abuse? No. Pets die, particularly when you are dealing with volume.”

When you’re dealing with volume,” Bruce? Does it not strike you as just a little bit callous to refer to the living, breathing beings that your company trades in as if they were lawn furniture? No, of course it doesn’t. Because that’s exactly the attitude that seems to be driving this business—despite being confronted by scenes of incredible suffering inflicted by a PetSmart supplier, Bruce and his colleagues appear to have seen nothing at all, beyond a few “acceptable losses” of their “product.”

Before I get too rhetorical here, let’s switch gears and watch something a bit more uplifting. It’s good to know, at least, that for every Bruce Richardson there’s also someone out there who’s taking time to make a positive difference for animals. Here’s a creative pro-spay and neuter spot by Alliance for Humane Action that I just came across. I like it because it has cats in it.

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  • Emily says:

    @Ashes That is exactly what I thought. Richardson has a fair arguement. We didn’t see how the animal was killed it could have been totally natural. Having said that, I am not defending the pet store. I am aware that many pet stores do exhibit cruelty. These stores hire anyone, without the necessary backround knowledge to be a responsible care giver for the animals. That in itself says a lot, I think

  • Ashley says:

    Ok here’s the thing…I work at a PetSmart in Iowa. Yes, its horrible that any animal has to die. While its horrible what Rainbow is doing, we are not the only ones who purchase from them. Even if we cut all ties, they would still have other stores that they supplied to. ANY and i DO MEAN ANY animal that comes into our care, stays in our care. even if it comes to us already sick. All of our sick animals get immediate veterinary care and we do our best. All of our animals get taken out and socialized (if the animal will allow it) and we make sure that the customers know what they are getting themselves into. Hell, we refuse to sell to plenty of people because we dont think they will make suitable pet parents. Are all PetSmarts as diligent as ours is? No. Is that horrible? Yes. But we are not all devils. We truly love the animals we take care of and want to see them go to good homes.

  • megan says:

    first of all this video is from a mill not from petsmart or petco petsmart buys from these places im sure not knowing that these things go on AND pending a LEGAL investigation and conviction a petsmart spokes person would be wise and REQUIRED to speak vaguely on the matter so petsmart doesn’t end up getting sued! now if these people are charges and convicted and petsmart continues to buy from them that would be problem but i see it as highly unlikely….petsmart and pet co both have mutimillion dollar charity’s going for homeless pets and both provide free space for adoption agency’s to display homeless cats. also on petsmarts very busy weekends countless rescue groups set up shop inside and adopt out dogs. every weekend. and petco and nether petsmart or petco will sell many kinds of small animals because of the high likely hood of them coming from nasty mills i believe ferrets and rabbits are on that listso before you go stomping all over others reputation do a little research please. the pet stores that are most like to have abuse and neglect are not the big chains that have endless regulations and whole departments dedicated to researching and providing ever improving animal safety rules. the most likely culprit and the little ‘mom pop’ stores with no rules and no people regulating them. there are also so many different little stores that statistically they are less likely to be noticed. but again this video isnt even about pet stores its about PET MILLS. and pet stores that also breed pets are an entirely different subject.

  • kim says:

    Well I’m about to put a Bull’s Eye on myself I’m a PetSmart employee for 5 yrs now. PS doesn’t sell dogs cats because there are too many dying in shelters. This is way all store have space donated to the nonprofit in the store. It is also why PS started the PetSmart Charities. As Associates we do our best to educate people on how to care for an animal. I also have to say that I have never seen any sign of animal abuse at our store. If an animal is in ISO it is sick and being cared for. That is why it is not with it’s ‘friends’. Alot of the problems come from the customers themselves. They shop wtheir unvaccinated dog argue wstaff or just plain do not listen. Personaly I would love to have the ‘Goldfish’ bowls banned in the USA and have caring customerspet parents.

  • joy says:

    I just would like to say that the people take good care of their animals at petsmart because i am one of them. We take our pets to the vet. Just to let you know we don’t sell rabbits. So you might want to get some things right before u post it. They said that we keep animals in the back that are about to die so people can’t see them. No the only animals we have in the back are the ones that need some meds from the vet and are being taken care of and if we can’t help them they are to a vet for care. The people that work at petsmart really care about animals thats why they are there. Plus we do help the dogs and cats that need homes and help pet parents with their animals that don’t behave so those animals don’t become homeless thats why we have pet training.

  • Amanda Potts says:

    I think that half of the people who are stating that animals just die in volume are ignorant to the existing evidence that is available for them to watch. I watched the videos of these animals being tortured by Petsmart and I feel that if you didn’t watch them you should back down and shut up. Watching a rabbit get neutered by a guy with a dull knife who was trying to control the blood with clorox wipes isn’t an animal just dying! Read up on your information before you put your two cents in. Let me neuter you with clorox wipes and lets see how you feel. Naive people make me angry. Lets trasport humans in volume and see how many die people die too right yeah you clearly have no clue about what you are saying. Continue to wear burberry purses and listening to Jennifer Lopez and you’ll fit right in with the part of society that doesn’t know a thing about the real world and the abuse that is happening in pet shops.

  • NurseKat says:

    Well Megan mentions the instore Vet. What about your store Chrissy? If the PETA investigator says Angel didn’t receive Vet care I have no reason not to believe. Charlene as an investigator you have to be willing to go the long haul otherwise you wouldn’t get the full storydetails of the abuse.

  • CharleneHaney says:

    I would really like to understand how PETA investigators can go into these places like Rainbow and watch animals like Angel die? I could not do that. I would have had to take her to a vet and would have found a way no matter how.

  • Lisa says:

    Wow all of PetSmarts’ employees are being given huge bonuses this year huh?

  • Chrissy says:

    I’ve worked for PetSmart for 3 years and I’ve been in two different stores in that time. I have never seen any wrong doing of any kind when it comes to the care of the animals. I personally handle all the animals at some point in time. I love to socialize the bigger birds and large reptiles. PetSmart doesn’t just sell animals they also work to educate the potential pet parent. At both of the stores I worked in customers who buy animals are given verbal information about the pet that they are buying and they are also sent home with a care guide. Also at both stores I’ve been in I’ve seen sales refused because the pet care associate wasn’t convinced the pet was going to a good home or wasn’t going to be used for food in the case of mice and rats. If we at PetSmart were really all about the almighty dollar then why would we refuse sales for any reason. I mean to hear you tell it we don’t care about the well being of the animal anyway so what do we care what happens to it once it leaves the store. I’m not sure where you information comes from but I think you need to know I mean really know what you’re talking about before you run your mouths. You can say anything. And pictures and videos don’t cut it with me either. What’s to say in your findings there wasn’t a cross section of good and bad things and you didn’t just pick what served your purpose. I love animals and would NEVER do anything to harm them. Nor would I affiliate myself with any place that would. So all I have to say is “LAY OFF!”

  • Megan says:

    I have worked at a petsmart store in Indiana for over a year now and I have never seen any type of abuse ever. I work specifically in pet care and I help take care of animals that get sick. We do not treat our animals like ‘Products’ we treat them like they are our own pets. Occaisonally hampsters and gerbils do get wet tail every once in a while and we do the same thing for each one. We take them to our in store vet and they give us medicene. We put them in our ICU and take care of them. We have to keep them in solitary so they don’t pass it on to any other animal. We check our pets in the morning and at night for any signs of sickness. Checking their eyes nose ears and body for any signs of damage or sickness. When we sell peets to people and they bring them back do to sudden illness we take them back and treat them for the person for no charge. We care about our pets very much. Now I can’t speak for other stores but ours is nothing like a lot of people are dpeicting. Every pet deserves to have an amazing life and to be loved by a family. We also received an award for the lowest pet lost in a year. We do care about all of our pets from the fish to the birds to the bunnies. I know I personally get attached to each animal in the store and when one dies it feels just like one of our own pets have died. In our store we also hold adoption days were shelters can bring all of their animals so that they can adopt them out to people. We do not just treat the bird and small animals for sicknesses even the fish have a fish ICU where we treat them from wounds and any other ilness they can get. If nothing can be done for the fish and it is suffering we humanly uthinize it. and NOt by smashing or physically hurting it.

  • Lisa says:

    How many of you work for a veterinarian? I have for 15 years. Pet’s are euthanized everyday most owners do it without a second thought. Just before holidays we have what I call the killing field. All pet’s wetting in the house have to be put down before the relatives show up. We have to clean the carpet. The general public has no idea what they are buying in pet stores. Pet are an emotional buy. People throw tons of dollars out the window on sick pets each year. That they thought were healthly. People need to be educated on what to look for and how to find pets. If they want a mouse for their kid find with me. Let’s get them quailty healthy pets. The state goverments need to monitor pet breeders and pet stores. Too bad they can afford to monitor them. Local counties or humane societies should be involved with monitoring. Is the place clean are the animals in good health? Pet’s can bring joy into a home. Help sick or depressed people. Get people moving and talking. We have no right to decide who can have a pet and who can’t. This is still the U.S.A.! As long as they are responsible for the care of the pet they choose thats all I care.

  • can not say sorry says:

    I am a Pet Care Manager and have been one for at Petsmart for 3 years before that I was a manager at a Petco and have been in the pet retail industy since I was 19 i am now 34 years old. even said this is something I am obviously passionate about. or I would not be in the business I am in. Peta needs to stop attacking Petsmart you cannot judge the company as a whole because of one store out of 1000 now by the way for not taking care of the animals infact I walked out on my job when I was with Petco leaving to go to petsmart who glad to have me. if anyone is cruel it is Petco I was with them for 7 years and was tired of how they took care of the animals they unlike us at petsmart DO NOT sell animals for food we are against that we are in the buisness to sell pets no feed animals that eat other animals. since being a pet care manager in my store I cant speak for others but in my store you wont see any animal but maybe one or two EVER that are sick why? because if and when they need to be treated I personally take them to the vet and have well trained my staff in pet care we have strict policies and procedures on the care and well being of our animals I reinforce these rules to my staff on a day to day basis and it shows from the customers coming back day after day and complimenting us for a job well done everyime they come in they see are amimals and happy and healthy and well taken care of and it shows with the staff I have. so dont let one bad apple ruin it for the rest of us. I am with petsmart because WE DO CARE ABOUT OUR PETS YOU HAVE TO SEE THE GLASS AS HALF FULL NOT HALF EMPTY dont get me wrong i agree with peta on animal issues I come home and go on line to see whats new in their news and cry everytime I watch it. why do I shed a tear because I care about the amimals they cant take care of themselves. my father said it must have been a calling for me and meant to be in this job. for those we do not tolerate animal cruelty in my store in the state I work in and often visit others when I am out of state so please dont judge we have tests videos and never ending training that you under go before you can even work in the pet care. the learning and caring never stops. like I said I walked out of my job at petco of 7 years because that one store did not care and it was not fair to the animals and because I had a voice they did not like that but I did not judge other petco’s because of the store i was at so to not shop at a petco or petsmart because they selling animals or are treating them cruel investigate walk the departments if that store shows they dont take care of the animals then stop shopping at that store and find anoter one its not fair to the rest of us

  • Salim says:

    I was horrified by what I’ve just seen caught on undercover video. Thanks to PETA the world can see what really happens behind smiles and closed doors at these pet store outlets. Hope this video will open people’s eyes to what really goes on and educates them into becoming better more aware more conscious consumers.

  • Brittany says:

    well i think the kitty video was very awsome. second my uncle works at a petsmart as a manager and his store is very clean and i never SEE any animal dead. My grandma who works in a vet clinic says that petsmart is always bringing in sick catsbirdslizards ect. but i agree that petsmart isnt what PETA should be attacking. i think that the pet stores in malls and pets supplies plus should be shut down. EVERY SINGLE TIME i go into pets supplies plus theres a dead or dieing ferretrabbitmousefish and always a lizard. the mice are always going in sane in their cages. one time when i was at petco there was a dwarf hampster in a cage and he would run and run on his wheel and then run out and look to see if he got anywhere…..he did this the WHOLE time i was there and that was like 45 mins.

  • Nathan Christie says:

    I think PETA is a great group and they deserve all our support. That said my local Petsmart always has very clean cages for the smaller animals. They seem to be treated very well and have a very good disposition. Although they don’t sell any cats or dogs they do house them for the local animal shelter so people can see them. I think that is great because far too often people purchase “cute” animals or pass up a wonderful companion because it isn’t a kitten or puppy. My best pets freinds have all been strays. I feel that Petsmart although not perfect is by far not the worst offender. We need to stop “breeding for profit” and allowing anyone with a little start up money to start breeding animals. You have to have a license to drive get married or carry a gun but when it comes to having another life in your hands it’s ok to do whatever you want! Sorry to rant but I am 100 tired of people that think of animals as items things commodities objects accsesories for their outfits or “cute for Easter”. Maybe PETA should take their donations and buy stock in a company committing animal wrong doing and send a person to speak on their behalf at a shareholder’s meeting. 51 of the stock gives you majority rule right? I might be wrong on that.

  • Kelsi says:

    I thought this was the place to babble about PetSmart. You all spoke your piece I spoke mine hence the purpose of the open blog comment format. Thanks.

  • HannaBanana says:

    Kelsiyou think PETA’s ignorant?!?! What’s so ignorant of them for having the balls to stick up for those that can’t speak for themselves? Why Kelsi are you wasting our time babbling away about your employer? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that PetSmart blows. PETA is way more evolved than 99 of the world’s population. I’d be honored to work for them.

  • Kelsi says:

    Also after I took another look at the video taken inside the PetSmart store I noticed another thing “One Employee actually said to me that she hates playing a vet at work because she’s not a vet. All of these animals need vet care which they are denied most of the time.” At the PetSmart I work at animals are NEVER denied vet care. We have an exotic animal specialist in town that we take our sick or injured animals to and we make sure that the animals get the proper care they need and the vet in turn gives us instructions to nurse the animal back to health which we are able to do most of the time. “They also have a recording that plays over the loudspeaker repeatedly throughout the day that says ‘when pets are family we’re the family doctor.’ That’s sickening.” How can it be sickening? If this video wouldn’t have been so full of Peta Propaganda it would have said that the recording is actually for Banfield the Pet Hospital that is not affiliated with PetSmart but is located in many most of our stores. What’s wrong with that? The video made PetSmart sound like it was claiming to be a veterinary service which it never claims to be. I don’t know what goes on in those warehouses and I’m sure it’s not the best of conditions for the animals but I refuse to rely on PETA to get my information regarding this situation. The only sickening thing about this whole thing is PETA’s drive for donations and most of all their ignorance.

  • Kelsi says:

    I work at PetSmart. The video this “investigator” posted highlighting the socalled horrors inflicted upon small animals and birds sold in PetSmart stores is absolutely ridiculous. Can’t anybody else see how twisted around the situation has become? Just because PETA thinks it needs a few more donations to fuel its terrorisminspired antics they feel they need to go after a large corporation to get that attention. In the video the “investigator” said that PetSmart keeps its sick pets in tiny rooms in the back of the store so “the customers can’t see the truth.” Um. Actually the pets are kept in isolation because they are in fact sick or have just arrived to the store and have to be monitored for a certain amount of time before they can be available for purchase and should be kept from getting the other pets in the store sick as well. Everything about the care of these animals is professional and sanitary and I will not stand for an organization like PETA that could use its power for so much good rather than running into PetSmart Adoption Centers and setting the animals available for adoption “free” which happened to my store about a year ago. Several cats escaped from the store and were not recovered but really what’s two or three more homeless cats if you can even remotely look like you’re saving one right PETA?

  • Amanda says:

    Okay I get a little annoyed when I hear over and over again people saying it’s a little overboard to boycott the entire company for one stores wrong doing or something similar. I agree with PETA though it might not be the store itself that is mistreating the animals. I have a Petsmart that treats the animals terrificaly and adopts out cats. It is really where they are getting the animals thats the main problem. Thats most times where the cruelty takes place those are who we should shut down. So to do that the best way is to boycott the stores if the stores are not making any profit from these animals and are also losing money because people don’t buy anything else from them as well Petsmart will eventually give in to peoples demands to stop selling animals all together. Because like any business they want to make a profit. So please stop critisizing PETA about going overboard because in truth that is exactly what needs to be done.

  • anon says:

    This whole ordeal is ridiculous. I worked in a petsmart as lead petcare. Let me tell you nothing that happened in the store was cruel to any animal. any animal that was even questionable was sent to a vet. We received a cockatiel that was not eating properly and the store readily spent over $1000 at the vet having him tested for everything. All the cleaning is done on a very strict schedule and all the animals receive fresh vegetables every morning. I think Peta should focus on the suppliers and other cruel pet stores. i have seen some bad stuff like 4 dogs shoved in a small cage and petsmart is not it.

  • CANNOT SAY says:

    I WAS A BANFIED VET THat tried desperately o treat ps animals et they took a poor mali away thought he died0 and let him suffer for months their vet Dr nick didnt cae I was broken hearted I could and wills ay so much more heartless

  • Darryl says:

    Petsmart is only as good as their experienced workers. I work at a Petsmart Local Fish Stores are a 5050 of being a good reliable place to shop for animals. These stores offer variety that no chain store can sell. Also is one of the main stores that needs to be closed down instead of petsmart. True some local fish stores are great and those should stay open. But to those that show neglect and dirty living conditions those should be closed. I went into a LFS Local Fish Store in my area for the first time. Having heard such great feedback about the fish they had from other customers. The place was tramatizing. Dirty fish tanks were everywhere ones filled and empty. Filters were sucking up dead and alive fish with ICH. About 78 foot iguanas stuffed into tiny cages. Around 10 little puppies also stuffed into a cage with no water and food. The whole place was a mess and full of diease everywhere you look. I understand most LFS are owned by selfbussiness people. But if you don’t have the money or the decency to at least fix up your store you just created one less and even more customers. Most chain and local fish stores are not the cause of all this neglect usually the breeders. Heck in the news lately of cows at a slaughter being moved with a forklift? Do people really care that much about animal rights seeing they are at a slaughterhouse.

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