Denver-Area Petco Stores Cited for Animal Welfare Violations

Officials Cite Notorious Chain Throughout the State for Animal Neglect, Filth, Poor Recordkeeping, and More

For Immediate Release:
December 10, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382


PETA has just obtained damning Colorado Department of Agriculture records from between January and July 2019 revealing that 12 Petco stores—including seven in the Denver area—were hit with more than 80 violations of the state’s Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) Program, which requires the bare minimum standards of animal care.

At one outlet in Northglenn, workers failed to provide a thin leopard gecko with veterinary treatment over nine days. The animal lay motionless for at least two days before dying. No veterinary care was provided for a ferret with a prolapsed rectum—a painful condition—and a suspected upper respiratory infection. That animal also died, purportedly as a manager finally drove the ferret to care. PETA has asked the Northglenn Police Department to investigate the store for criminal cruelty to animals.

“Petco’s jaw-dropping litany of violations reveals a culture of callousness, indifference, and inaction in which the animals pay the ultimate price,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling on caring people to avoid any Petco store until the chain pledges to stop selling live animals and stop letting others die in cages and tanks.”

Other citations in the Denver area include for an “excessive amount of dead fish” at the Englewood store and a “large amount of feces” in a parakeet cage in the Northglenn store. At that location, an assistant manager also acknowledged that “sewage had leaked into” the wall of a grooming room, leaving a hole, and reptiles were housed in enclosures that were up to 20 degrees too cold.

Petco stores also came under fire in Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and Dillon.

They were cited for failing to clean and sanitize bathtubs, having rusted doors with dangerously sharp edges, and having “a strong mildew smell.” Several stores lacked essential documentation, including written agreements with licensed veterinarians, proof of veterinary examinations of animals imported from other states, and complete records for sales of birds and rodents. One store lacked a certificate for conures it had evidently held for more than a year.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that the PACFA Program is one of the strongest efforts to regulate pet stores in the country and that if other states joined Colorado in this progressive program, suffering in Petco’s stores and at its suppliers would go undiscovered less often.

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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