Skip to Main Content

From PETCO to PETA: A Former PETCO Employee Speaks Out

The following article was written by Alicia Woempner.

As a vegetarian college student who loved animals, I was thrilled to be offered a summer job at PETCO. I was excited to spend my days talking to animal guardians and meeting their furry companions who often accompanied them to the store and to care for the birds, reptiles, fish, guinea pigs, and other small animals there. However, I quickly realized that this store that had seemed like heaven to me was actually hell for the animals who lived there.

The first shock came when I noticed a large open wound on the face of a small white mouse. Immediately informing my supervisor, I was told not to worry about it because the animal was “just a feeder mouse.” PETCO, you see, stocks live mice and rats to be sold as food for “pet” snakes. Mice and rats who are thrown into a cage with a snake may spend hours or even days shaking in terror before the snake finally gets hungry enough to eat them (which may or may not happen), and they can even attack and harm the snake in an attempt to defend themselves. I’ll never forget how horrified I was every time a customer came into the store wanting to buy a “feeder mouse” or rat, knowing that I was responsible for condemning to terror and a horrifying death whichever mouse or rat I was able to catch and wrestle into a cardboard box. I began to notice ill or injured “feeder mice” on a daily basis, and having lived with a companion mouse, I was heartbroken seeing how much suffering these intelligent, affectionate animals were enduring at a store that claims that “animals always come first.”

PETCO also sells live “feeder fish” for turtles and reptiles people keep as captive “pets.” These small goldfish are kept by the hundreds in huge, severely crowded tanks with no enrichment. The death toll was so high at the store I worked at that part of the closing procedure every day was to take out the dead “feeder fish” who had been sucked into a filter, wrap them in a plastic bag, and place them in the “dead” freezer, along with dead rats, mice, hamsters, birds, and other casualties. There were so many fish in the filter every day that it was impossible to separate those who were still alive and breathing but too weak to swim out of the filter, so they were thrown in the freezer with the dead ones. (I don’t know whether they suffocated or froze to death first.) Of course, we also took a daily “dead count” of all the aquarium fish as well since they, along with the other animals in the store, are seen by the company as disposable commodities.

One of the most gruesome incidents that I witnessed was the result of the intensive confinement to which the animals in the store are subjected. Birds, who in nature would fly, migrate, nest, and raise their own families, are kept in crowded cages and denied the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior, which can cause them to go crazy. One night after closing, I heard a cacophony of squawking from the parakeet cage. Running over, a fellow employee and I found that one parakeet had become the victim of frenzied pecking from cagemates—the other birds had pecked all the flesh off the top of the animal’s head, leaving the skull completely exposed. I begged to be allowed to take the bird to a 24-hour veterinarian to be mercifully euthanized, and eventually I was allowed to do so but only after precious minutes had been wasted on the phone requesting permission to spend the extra money on an emergency vet. By the time I got to the doctor, the parakeet had died. I’ll never forget that bird.

The store’s “merchandise” can also be “damaged” by careless employees. One individual I will always remember was a tiny baby chameleon whose back was broken when a worker accidentally slammed the animal’s cage door shut. The chameleon died the next day without the dignity of euthanasia.

These are only a handful of the incidents that I witnessed as a PETCO employee, but undercover investigators have also revealed horrific animal abuse at the breeding facilities that supply PETCO and PetSmart, among others. I urge you to learn more about the horrific pet-trade industry. As you can imagine, I didn’t last very long in that job, but I will always regret having been in that small way a party to such a cruel industry. I hope you will join me in boycotting retailers like PETCO and PetSmart that still sell animals and that you will make a commitment always to adopt and never buy companion animals.

Related Posts

Respond
Commenting is closed.
  • Sara says:

    I have worked at my Petco for over a year and it sounds like you had a bad GM. I have never witnessed or heard anything like this. I in fact have been the person many times that makes the drive across town to get our smallest of creatures emergency care. We hold adoption events every weekend and continuously raise money for our rescues who are always no kills and we give every cent to them. Our feeder fish tank has a very low death count. Feeder mice and rats, which are not considered so until they are purchased, are very well taken of. We have a local rabbit rescue and we will not sell rabbits at our store because of that. Do not turn your crappy experience into a rage against an entire company. If you had so many issues at that store you should have contacted corporate because they do have very high standards that they require to be kept.

  • Mackenzie says:

    Snakes are animals, real live animals. Regulars less of whether you like the idea or not, they are now pets. Some people love their snakes just as much as you love your pet mice and rats, but there is a good percentage of snakes that will not eat frozen or thawed mice and rats. Some will only eat live. So either the mice does or the snake dies from starvation. All I’m saying is I have three dogs, two geckos, two cats, fish, and have had many other pets. And I would do anything for any one of them. If I had a snake and it wasn’t eating I would feed it live. Not every mouse is going to live, and to be honest where do you think pet stores get the frozen mice from? They freeze LIVE mice. Don’t be stupid. I’ve worked in pet stores since I was 10. It’s the circle of life. Deal with it.

  • Viz says:

    Ginger, I think it’s very presumptuous for you to say that PetCo is selling pets as “impulse items”. PetCo is not responsible for the motivation of their customers. Yes, some people do buy a pet out of impulse but many others do give it considerable thought BEFORE they make the decision to even enter the store. No, I don’t work for PetCo nor do I have any affiliation with them whatsoever. What I do take into consideration is that, as a chain, they are required to meet certain standards, however too loose, whereas private breeders have few if any standards to which they have to comply. And as a store, PetCo is under the watchful eye of people like us who are concerned for the welfare of the animals they sell.

  • PETA says:

    @Rachel Please read this article to see why there’s no such thing as a ‘responsible breeder.’ ALWAYS adopt!! http://www.peta.org/about/why-peta/responsible-breeders.aspx

  • Rachel says:

    i got a rat a petco and she was a awesome pet but the problem is that she only lived 1 year! she had teeth problems and a hart condition probably from crappy breeding!!!!!!!!!!!! i am getting my next rat from a responsible breeder!!!!!!!! it might cost a bit more a first but you save a ton of money on vet bills latter on!!!!!

  • Angela says:

    I am also very concerned with Petco and other pet stores selling rats and mice as “feeders”. This practice truly saddens and disgusts me. Rats are domesticated animals and have been since the 1800′s. They are intelligent, sensitive, loving and have a similar nervous system to humans. Rats feel joy, fear, pain and loneliness just like us. They can be taught tricks and care for their young and each other as well as their human guardians.

    Snakes, however, are not domesticated animals. They do not feel emotions beyond the basics:fear and aggression. They are not intelligent and cannot be trained. They do not bond to their owner and do not live in communities or care for each other.

    I’ve heard the question “Don’t snakes deserve to eat?” and the comment “Well, that’s what they eat in the wild.” There’s the catch–IN THE WILD. Snakes DO catch wild mice, rats, frogs and other small animals in the wild. The rats that they are eating are WILD rats, a completely different strain than the rats especially bred as pets. If your snake will not eat frozen rodents, then it should be up to you to catch wild food for it to eat, and not sacrifice innocent pets.

  • Ty says:

    In every large chain business, you will have winners, and losers. I fear that this write up was extremely bias, and targets one poorly managed store. Petsmart is the WalMart of pet stores, Petco the Target. I can say honestly that MUCH care goes into the animals at the PETCO in my area. The aquatics team is extremely knowledgable and refuses sales to those planning to keep a fish they are not prepared to care for. They are holding an adoption event today that stresses sales are not necessary, just finding homes. Sure, they will have a kick back from that, but knowing that team personally, I can tell you this….They do not care if the store doesn’t make a dime today, as long as they find as many homes as possible for animals on the kill lists. I believe in the circle of life. Animal A must feed on animal B. Snakes cannot survive on Tofu. PETA’s hearts are in the right place, but their mind has gotten out of control.

  • Linda says:

    This account of the Petco abuse story is saddening, but after reading the comments, i was glad to hear about efforts being made by the company enforce proper animal care. I am curious as to why PETA doesn’t actively campaign for the end of the cruel practice of feeding live mice to snakes. It baffles me as to why this practice is not targeted, while relatively harmless issues (like Pokemon) receive so much attention. I would prioritize stopping actual cruelty in my budget over attacking less threatening cultural phenomena, but I guess that’s just me. I find the feeding of live mice to snakes a repulsive practice, especially since I can’t understand the need for it. I personally don’t think people should keep snakes as pets because they are dangerous and not well-suited to be companion animals, since they have not been bred for companionship. However, if they choose to do so, they should at least feed the reptile with frozen rodents, which would end the demand for a live feed supply. I’ve rescued a hamster and had a few mice given to me as pets, and I believe they are loveable, intelligent creatures who deserve to be treated kindly. Mice, rats, gerbils, etc definitely do NOT deserve to be trapped in a cage awaiting their death without any possibility of escape. The people who defend this barbaric practice say it is as nature intended, but I beg to differ. In nature, there is no human intervention, so the snake would seek out its prey and the prey would have a chance to flee. When snake owners decide to feed live animals to the snakes, it’s like staging a gladiatorial combat, pinning a defenseless, terrified being in a ring against a seasoned killer. I hope that this is the kind of issue that an organization against the cruel treatment of animals would take up, since their goal should be to minimize animal suffering and maintain harmony in nature. If Petco stops selling “feeder” animals, it’s a promising step in the right direction, and I would hope people support this initiative.

  • Mike says:

    XD What did you expect?! As a species humans have alwayse taken lesser creatures, killed them off the try to act “responsible” and redistribute them into the world. Even if your a vegan or vegetarian, the animals people own (out of curiosity for a different life form) are not. If you believe you can take a salad and toss it in a snake cage, I feel sorry for your kids lol! Now, I own 2 different types of frogs (pixie frog and pacman frog) and neither of them will eat a re-heated mouse that I bought frozen. So… what would you have me do? Feed them crickets till they starve from lack of nutrition? No. I buy mice and catch snakes and lizards to watch nature at work. I feel sorry for you if you fail to admit the Carnivours rule this planet. We are meat eaters, that is why we will outlast the beasts.

  • BLG says:

    I used to work at Petco and it’s EXACTLY like this. It’s a disgusting store.

  • OhJeez says:

    I just saw this:

    “…However, Petsmart does not sell feeder mice, they sell them frozen, which I think is a way more humane way to get snakes their food…”

    I don’t know if that is a store-wide policy, but the PetSmart around the corner from me, sells live mice as feeders.

  • OhJeez says:

    I would like to point out that only irresponsible owners (such as the link you provided) would leave a rat/mouse in the cage with their snake for days. Most owners supervise their snakes feeding, and if the snake does not eat at that time, the rat/mouse is removed for the safety of the snake, and they’ll try again later. What you posted is not the norm and it is not terrible– snakes need to eat, as they do in the wild. I’ve rescued several snakes, some which would not take dead regardless of my attempts and some who would. I fed them regularly, and the rats/mice did not spend “hours or days shaking in fear.” Do not make snakes out to seem like monsters, given they have no more choice in the matter than the mouse; They can’t go “hey I’m not hungry, remove the mouse.” That was the fault of the owner, but not to be taken as an example of -every- snake owner.

    That said I am strongly against PETCO; Every time I go there, I find sick, dying, or dead animals and have only ever met ONE employee who immediately did something about it when I pointed it out.

    I saw one of their hamsters had been torn open and partially eaten by the other, so I informed them. The girl (who was about my age) looked at it and goes “Eww..” and fetches who I assumed was her manager, who then scrambled for about ten minutes to get it into a box. I find rats who are obviously sick— skinny, coughing, weezing.. it’s ridiculous. So I don’t buy from them. Their suppliers breed rats in the lowest acceptable conditions: smallest cages allowed, lowest grade food etc. They are usually unsocialized and the males are always terribly small (Vs. privately bred rats who make much better pets) I’ve tried to get a job there (so at least there would be someone there who actually gave a damn) but to no avail.

    I breed my own rats now. They are played with, have nice cages, and spoiled to no end. Some find wonderful homes and others are feeders.

  • Ginger says:

    Well, after PETCO came to Kailua Kona a couple years ago. First they had to install a BIG RED SIGN with their name on it (its a small town, we could find them) I went there ONCE. they had green cheek conures, cockatiels and budgies in horrid clear cages with lights. The poor conures had no toys and no where to hide out (THEY LIVE IN TREE HOLES). A friend of mine worked there for a while and said that the birds went in the back when sick and that they were always getting sick. the poor little babies. My father went in last week for something (he never shops there either) and the poor little birds are still being sold as impulse items. I HATE PETCO! they dont care about pets, just MONEY MONEY MONEY! I wouldn’t go there for anything, even if it was free.

    I called them to complain about the conditions and the customer service guy laughed at me. Yes! Laughed. He just thought i was a looney.

    BOYCOTT PETCO and tell your family and friends. I hope they rot for selling animals as impulse items. like there is not enough that need homes already.

    Please adopt and please don’t get a pet unless you can care for it!

  • Dia says:

    Actually, Sherrylyn, I’m not sure of the numbers for the other animals you listed, but Ferrets have been domesticated for over 2000 years. The domestic ferret has actually been domesticated for so long that the shape if the skull has changed, and a lot of natural survival instincts are gone. Also, Petco is against selling bunnies just as they are against selling dogs and cats, and the policy is always ‘Adoption First,’ so the employees will urge you to adopt an animal over buying one.
    Petco does not take the animals out of the wild to breed them. Each are domestically bred by a breeder who is kept to strict regulation and inspected (often unannounced) regularly. And the pets that do need to be euthanized are done so as humanly as possible. It is actually against policy to put an animal that is not dead in a situation that would kill it, and to do so ends in instant termination of the employee.
    I know Petco has had it’s problems in the past, and with some stores there are problems in the present, but the majority are not just cleaning up their act, but working for a better tomorrow. The Petco Foundation does several drives a year to raise money for shelters and causes to help animals, even including Cancer in pets. I won’t say all of them are flawless, but the company is really working to turn that around.

    Mostly, I saw the thing about ferrets being domesticated vs wild and I wanted to speak up. Sorry it got so long.

    -D

  • Manda says:

    I too work for a Petco and absolutely love it. The animals in my store (I can’t speak for all) are well cared for and truly loved. They get the attention they deserve when it comes to caring for, feeding, cleaning etc and we are held to extremely high standards. Any animal that is sick is always seen by a vet and whatever it takes to get the animal healthy is done no matter what the cost. I’ve seen mice and hamsters that cost very little have $300 vet bills. I spent Christmas Eve morning (a Saturday this year) at the emergency vets so that 2 hamsters that were sick could get IV fluids into them and that bill was extremely expensive. Please don’t think we don’t care about them because we do. With the whole “feeder” thing, I understand both parts. I push to sell frozen feeder mice and rats as much as possible. And all snakes that are at the stores are on frozen. It’s the customer who decides whether or not to continue feeding frozen or the breeder or place they got the snake from fed live and the snake won’t take frozen. Keep in mind, they have to eat to so they do not starve to death. Myself and my fellow associates all care deeply about our animals and customers.

  • Tori says:

    I have worked for petco for almost five years. We feed our snakes frozen/thawed food, our adoption cats eat Natural Balance, our small animals get the highest quality pellets, fresh veggies every single day, their bedding refreshed daily, their water changed with dechlorinated water twice daily and their cages deep cleaned and disinfected twice weekly. Plus the habitats all have a ventilation system. The reptiles get their required UVA/UVB lighting & three heat sources, get fed daily, their water changed AT LEAST twice daily, and at least 3 mistings a day. We even take our mice to the vet if needed. We once took a mouse to the vet to get neutered because he fought with another sexually active adult male mouse. Please do not assume that all pet stores are alike, and are cruel. We have strict, high animal care standards and take pride in the services we provide for both animals and pet parents alike.

  • chander kumar soni says:

    hmmmmmmmm.

  • J says:

    I was at petco the other day and i was looking in the fish tanks and two out of three tanks had dead fish in the filter. Then i looked at the birds and every one of them was WET when there was NO WATER in the cage.

  • mysty s says:

    i have worked for PETCO for a year and I LOVE IT everything is humane Myself and my fellow employees have big hearts when it comes to animals of all kinds and the second any of our mice are injured which is most commonly brought on by the OTHER mice in the tank they are animals they are territorial and can fight just like they would in the wild! If at any time we see an injured or possible sick animal during our HOURLY animal checks we quickly seperate it from other pets in it’s own CLEAN invironment and make a vet app. for him/her we take very good care of our pets and I personally work back in the aquatic section and I also feed all the small animalls which include hamsters-mice-rats-birds ect…I always try to make shure I give each possible animal personal attention and love there are several rats that look forward to seeing me because I will take each individual daily out for a walk and to be pet and loved it also gives customers a chance to really see how a rat or mouse is instead of assuming it’s this nasty animal that lives in sewers. I love and have a very personal bond with nearly every animal in our store. I am not the only one that gives them individualized attention ALL my fellow employees do the same and care about them the same if not more. We also clean ALL cages weekly every wed. and that includes a deep cleaning which is new bedding and complete tank wipe down including washing all the stuff they eat drink and play on! we also do a daily quick clean each time we feed the animals which includes replacing dirty litter and making shure everyone (the animals) are comfy and relaxed at all times!!!!! At my store the animals come FIRST statement is extreamly true our customers come second a HIGH second but if there is an animal that needs my attention and a customer that needs it at the same time I explaine to the customer that I need to help the pet first but I will be rite with them…also with the “feeder mice/fish” we do not call them that and a LARGE majority of them get sold as pets thanks to our employees love for them and great convincing skills we try to get as many as possible sod as pets BUT snakes which are living critters with feelings and emotions to and some are very very picky about what they eat a lot and I mean a lot of snakes will refuse to eat anything but live and if they don’t eat they die that in it’s self would be cruel to deprive a living creature of food yes it’s very very sad on the mouses part and I CANNO’t watch it but thats how they survive in the wild and when they get eaten it is a quick death and typically if u have the appropriate sized enclosure for your snake the mouse has no idea whats going on and has plenty of time to be it’s happy little self and run about the cage before they even realize they are dinner now if it’s a small container of course it’s going to be scared stuck in a corner with this big scarry thing looking at it so yeah they will be frightened then but most snake owners know better and MOST snake owners don’t want to harm the mouse anymore than I would but they don’t want to abuse theire PICKY snake eather …I have heard from several different snake owners just how picky they can be I had a Vegan snake owner that was DESPERATLEY trying to convince her snake to eat frozen but he nearly died and she had to give in and buy live just sometimes you have no choice when it comes to the well being of your beloved pet! Our Ferrets are also kept very clean yes they are in a LARGE glass enclosure but with well ventalated top and we clean their cage daily twice a day seeing as how they have bad odor and do poop a lot we also give them lots of individualized attention and they have proper diet and sleeping quarters as well as toys all my fellow employees are ferrets owners among owning various other pets trust me we know what were doing if we seen ANY kind of abuse it would be reported we would probably boycot the store and cause a riot as well we love our animals your petco has their information wrong!

  • Virginia says:

    I know the Petco here in town brings in cats from one of the local shelters for people to adopt (God only knows how many times I’ve begged my parents to let us bring another cat home from there so my cat would have a new friend ever since our other cat passed away) but it does bother me that they have live “feeder” animals. I’ve never seen any at my local Petco, but I can always go and look to see if there is any. If so I might try to start up a petition against such.

  • Valerie says:

    I, knowing of the bad publicity that Petco was getting, offered to go by a Petco unannounced. I did so and a man working there let me go into the ‘back room’. There was no warning at all and he just let me back there to inspect each cage.

    I found nothing out of the ordinary.

    I immediately called Peta and told them there was nothing alarming to report – this was years ago as this campaign against Petco has been longstanding.

    They have done a lot for getting publicity and offering sheler/rescue/abandoned dogs and cats.

    The problem I do have is the feeder mice and fish – that is disturbing and do not like they sell the mice to people who enjoy watching a live mouse in terror of being eaten alive – which is not needed – the mouse should be euthanized before feeding. But why are people having exotic pets such as huge snakes – a whole other issue.

    I do think effort should be put more in the deadly Petland which knowingly sells puppy mill dogs.

  • Sherrylyn says:

    To all the employees at Petco, I understand you need a job just like everybody else. It would please me immensely for you to walk through just one of Petco’s breeding facilities and tell us all how you feel. Sherrylyn, Keswick, Ontario

  • Sherrylyn says:

    First let me start by saying that we many years ago domesticated cats and dogs therefore it is our responsibility to love and nurture them. In my opinion Birds, Snakes, Mice Ferrets Bunnies and Fish are not domesticated animals and should not be kept or sold as that. If people never had ego’s these animals would not suffer, bottom line. There would not be Petco’s or any other store to buy these animals. What the general public doesn’t know is that for every animal or fish bought at these store’s many have suffered or died. Petco takes these animals from the wild and breeds them. Petco stores dont want their employees to call their fish or mice feeder’s because it sounds really really bad but in fact that’s what they are. Do you really think these animals are put to death in a humane way? that would cost money, so no they do not. They freeze them live and that is a fact. So for all you people that buy Snakes, Birds, Bunnies and every other kind of animal for your ego know that many many have suffered and died. I have 2 cats that i have rescued, they are 14 and 15 years of age and are very healthy and have lived on a vegan diet all their happy lives. When will we learn to stop the suffering of all Animals.

  • Nancy says:

    I love animals very much, and one of my goals in life is to eventually become a vegan. I am a person who purchased an adorable puppy from a puppy store at the mall. We all love her very much. But it saddens me that I learned that store was selling puppies from puppy mills. I would never trade my dog for anything, and I do not for one minute regret buying her, but in the furure, I am not going to buy animals from places like that. I will ADOPT, that is the best way to go. I hope one day I get the priviledge to rescue a dog from a puppy mill.

  • Alicia says:

    This is a sad but true story of the pet shop industry. Live animals for feeding is banned in Australia for good reason, they’re sold frozen. You can buy pinkies (baby mice), adult mice & rats but they’re quick frozen in which they go to sleep like hypothermia and die quickly and painlessly. I have parrots, dogs & Lizards, you don’t have to be cruel to feed your animals that you love. My 5 Parrots fly every day & are vegetarian like me. My carnivores eat humane meat. Shame on you PetCo.

  • ANGELA45 says:

    RE: TONI IN BAYSHORE. RAISING MONEY FOR HOMELESS ANIMALS AND HOLDING “ADOPTION DAY” EVENTS DOES NOT EXCUSE ANY TYPE OF ANIMAL ABUSE OR NEGLECT. YOUR LOCATION MAY HAVE MONTHLY CORPORATE VISITS, BUT IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT NOT ALL LOCATIONS GET THE SAME INSPECTIONS. I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT THE PETCO IN PARAMUS, NEW JERSEY IS DISCUSTING – IT’S DIRTY, IT SMELLS, AND WHEN I POINTED THIS OUT TO SEVERAL EMPLOYEES THEY JUST LOOKED AT ME AND SHRUGGED THEIR SHOULDERS AND WALKED AWAY.

  • Mia says:

    Definitely “unliking” them on Facebook. DISGUSTING. I have never been to PETCO, neither will I ever go there. That is SICK AND EVIL.

  • Brett says:

    I just love your site!!

  • Jennifer Brown says:

    It’s fine to say that the animals at the pet store were not well cared for, and even the animals designated as feeders should be properly handled and treated, but feeding mice to snakes is just life. Don’t you feed your dog chicken? It might not be alive at the time, but dogs don’t have the same prey drive as snakes. And I realize that PETA is currently engaged in depriving reptile-lovers of their pets, but I equate the bond that I have with my ball python, Dionysus, with the bond I had with my cats, dogs, rabbits, etc. I am fortunate to be able to feed Dionysus rodents that have been humanely euthanized and frozen post-mortem, but demonizing snakes just because some of them take live prey is like yelling at a cat for eating a bird. It happens.

    Once again, I still believe that it is important to see to the needs of all animals for the duration of their life, no matter how “disposable” they may be considered due to cost or price.

  • Toni says:

    Fist off, I dont know what store you worked for but the manager should be reported. I am a manager for Petco and to correct this person we do not call them “feeder mice/rats” or “feeder fish”. And if anyone is caught saying that they are given a warning first and then a write up which could lead to termination. I also do not understand how that store could get away with having sick or injured animals when I know for a fact that at my store we go through monthy corporate visits and have to do animal walks every hour. We also have a vet who comes once a week and takes care of any sick or injured animals and if they cannot wait then they go right to to ER. So I do not want Petco to be bashed by one person who worked for one store. Feel free to come to my store or any store on Long Island and tell me if you experience the same thing. I think the problem with that store was bad management and instead of bashing the company then maybe she should have gone to the corporate people and reported her manager. I wish Peta would post the good things Petco does like the millions of dollars it raises for homeless animals or the millions that get adopted through Petco. Feel free to ask me, I will write a good article about the company. Question is will Peta publish it because its not negative about the company. Thats the reality. So dont let one persons negative experience that is due to poor management make a whole company look bad. Im proud of my store and the way we treat our animals and I am proud of our corporate bosses to for putting animals first when needed. So come on down and ask me anything about any animal and I will be delighted to make your experience as it should be, wonderful. Bayshore, NY if you were wondering.

  • Laura McCarthy says:

    It is unreal how many sick people are out there and the horrific things they do to innocent animals. I pray some day that this will be stopped. Almost 17 years ago I bought my cat from a pet store. I normally wouldn’t buy, but rather adopt or take in animals that others wanted to surrender to an animal shelter because they weren’t mature enough to be a responsible pet owner. I bought her because she was very sick and it was very obvious from the pus coming out of her eyes and running out her little nose. I still have her to this day. It broke my heart to see how sick she was and obviously had no veterinary treatments. After I purchased her I proceeded to tell the lady behind the counter that they should be ashamed of themselves for selling sick animals!!!!

  • Jacqueline Oliveri says:

    And the way they keep the ferrets is unacceptable too! They need a place to sleep that is in complete darkness! Also they keep them in glass tanks that have no ventilation… Ferrets don’t have sweat glands and can become heat exhausted very easily! Also… What happens to all the baby ferrets who never sell and no one wants because they are adults? Do they send them to research labs? It is well documented that ferrets have an immune system similar to humans and are popular among research institutions!

  • Maria says:

    I love having pets, but at the expense of so many others, it’s not worth their suffering. ADOPT. I’ve told people and they don’t care. How can anyone be so heartless

  • LeAnn says:

    Before I realized how cruel PETCO was, I used to buy my animals from there. I really let the commercials they had brainwash me into thinking that they actually cared about the animals there. I got 2 parakeets from PETCO and they are both very afraid of people. After awhile, they had 4 babies and they were all doing well, until the mother pecked 2 of them to death and started to peck at the third one, but we rescued the third one, and thankfully we were able to save the smallest of the babies as well. It’s common in birds to do this, but I do blame PETCO, in how they abused the birds their making them insane. PETCO is cruel and I have seen videos showing this. After this incident and another, when I saw a worker their toss a live fish that was slowly dying in the sink to suffocate, I shall NEVER buy from them again. I hope that these big corporations will be closed down and that less and less people will buy from them.

  • Toni says:

    Fist off, I dont know what store you worked for but the manager should be reported. I am a manager for Petco and to correct this person we do not call them “feeder mice/rats” or “feeder fish”. And if anyone is caught saying that they are given a warning first and then a write up which could lead to termination. I also do not understand how that store could get away with having sick or injured animals when I know for a fact that at my store we go through monthy corporate visits and have to do animal walks every hour. We also have a vet who comes once a week and takes care of any sick or injured animals and if they cannot wait then they go right to to ER. So I do not want Petco to be bashed by one person who worked for one store. Feel free to come to my store or any store on Long Island and tell me if you experience the same thing. I think the problem with that store was bad management and instead of bashing the company then maybe she should have gone to the corporate people and reported her manager. I wish Peta would post the good things Petco does like the millions of dollars it raises for homeless animals or the millions that get adopted through Petco. Feel free to ask me, I will write a good article about the company. Question is will Peta publish it because its not negative about the company. Thats the reality. So dont let one persons negative experience that is due to poor management make a whole company look bad. Im proud of my store and the way we treat our animals and I am proud of our corporate bosses to for putting animals first when needed. So come on down and ask me anything about any animal and I will be delighted to make your experience as it should be, wonderful. Bayshore, NY if you were wondering.

  • Blake G says:

    The author stated he was ashamed to work at a place like that and I commend him for speaking out. We all must give a voice to the speechless animals. I am working at Loews’ Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando for nearly 3 years now. Since I have been there we have been caring for the feral cats on property. I know PETA is surprisingly against the care of feral cats but many of us employees and friends of employees have given forever homes to the cats and ones that are not sociable we have kept fed and cared for. Most have been trapped, neutered and vaccinated. My two cats were kittens found on property from feral cats that since have been fixed and we saved several more kittens. All have been wonderful cats with unique personalities making several lives more wonderful. Before getting sidetracked about the feral cats, I was going to make the point that as much as we despise operations and beliefs of management of our jobs, it is good to have someone on the inside and be the voice for the voiceless.

  • min says:

    a great article, although this sentence confused me a little:
    ‘PETCO, you see, stocks live mice and rats to be sold as food for “pet” snakes.’
    Why the “pet”? Can’t snakes be pets? They have the need to eat just like any other animal.
    btw, I feed my snakes pre-killed mice, not live.

  • Nicole says:

    I can most certainly understand your concerns, my boyfriend works at Petsmart. However, Petsmart does not sell feeder mice, they sell them frozen, which I think is a way more humane way to get snakes their food. My boyfriend is the best salesman on the floor, even the managers ask him questions about pets. He takes time with every customer making sure they know everything about the animal being purchased and makes sure the pet is going to a proper home. Petsmart does sell feeder goldfish, so he does hate that part. I wish there was something to be done. What I do like about Petsmart however is their cages and tanks are always very clean- whereas Petco I always find them to be in much lower condition :(

  • sisu says:

    Petco is a disaster. I was with a friend who was buying some ferret beds and noticed a young rat with an actual hole in his throat, stuck in a crowded, ammonia reeking aquarium. I love animals dearly, and have a special affinity for rats. This little guy needed help. When I asked to purchase him the employee didn’t understand why I flipped a lid as she picked him up by the end of his tail. They have a policy that they will cover vet charges for 14 days after purchase. It was nearly closing time when I took him, he was chipper and happy until about an hour before his appointment at my vet the next day. He suddenly stopped being able to breath. The store manager reacted casually to my outrage and offered to replace the “purchase”. How callous can people be? At least he was able to run around and have a clean bed for a night. They are just little souls, they all deserve that.

  • Jude Hollingsworth says:

    I’m glad to see people speaking out when they witness cruelty. It takes that kind of committment to bring this abuse to an end. PetCo and PetSmart need to do some internal investigations and put some new company policies into affect, if that is even possible. It takes people that care more for the animals than the mightly dollar; so it’s not likely to happen, SO as the former employee says, BOYCOTT those establishements.

  • Tanya Grigorian says:

    Please stop abusing these harmless animals. You should set an example of how animals should be treated. Imagine yourself in their position. They have the same feelings as us, and deserve respect.

  • Jude Hollingsworth says:

    I’m glad to see people speaking out when they witness cruelty. It takes that kind of committment to bring this abuse to an end. PetCo and PetSmart need to do some internal investigations and put some new company policies into affect, if that is even possible. It takes people that care more for the animals than the mightly dollar; so it’s not likely to happen, SO as the former employee says, BOYCOTT those establishements.

  • Ellie says:

    This is an all to common practice at these stores. They claim to be “animals first”. Does that only apply to dogs and cats that they don’t sell? I wouldn’t even buy supplies there except for there’s no place else to buy from unless you buy online, and then there’s shipping fees. Good quality pet food is expensive enough foe those of us who choose to buy it.

  • Agni rush says:

    Thank you so much for writing this article. Working in a “petstore’ is a fricken nightmare for anyone that loves animals. Petstores are not friendly places for animals no matter what they say. Only buy animal care supplies at supply only stores that don’t sell animals of any kind. The only thing I will tolerate is adoptions organized through a supply store location. I used to shop at PetSmart but I realized quickly that supporting the sales of small animals of any kind is cruel and sick and if I purchased food and other resources there I am paying for that company to keep selling animals. These are animals that should not be ‘pets’. Most people that buy animals from petstores do not know what they are getting themselves into and as far as I can tell, staff members at places like PetCo and PetSmart and PetLand and all the rest, have no idea of what snakes and other reptiles, fish, rodents or birds actually need to be healthy and happy.
    God Bless you for having the courage to share that experience. People have to know that petstores aren’t cute places to see and buy animals. I’ll do whatever I can to help stop this suffering.

  • misie says:

    i was thinking about getting a job at petco but now i dont want to.

  • Regina Golden says:

    I think investigators shourld be able to have these employes who are aware of sick practices should be terminated and not to ever be able to work around animals ever again. They are sick, so if not permanently removed will just work in some other store.

Connect With PETA

Submit