Denver PetSmart Stores Cited for More Than 70 Animal Welfare Violations

Chain Cited for Denying Animals Timely Veterinary Care, Failing to Meet Species-Specific Needs, and More Across the State; Stay Away, Says PETA

For Immediate Release:
April 30, 2020

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Denver – PETA has just obtained damning Colorado Department of Agriculture records from between January 2019 and March 2020 revealing that 16 PetSmart stores—including 11 in the Denver area—were cited for more than 70 violations of the state’s Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA), which requires the bare minimum standards of animal care.

According to inspectors, a lethargic bearded dragon who wasn’t eating was held for more than three weeks without receiving veterinary care at a store in Westminster—and staffers at a Northglenn location refused to rush an extremely sick green anole to the vet because the animal had been returned to the store, evidently by a customer, near closing time. Eight stores—including the Westminster location as well as ones in Littleton, Superior, Aurora, and Longmont—denied fish water of the proper temperature and pH level or reptiles adequate UVB light, sufficient heat, or water to swim in.

“Every PETA investigation has caught big-box pet stores’ suppliers denying basic necessities to vulnerable animals, from hamsters to turtles to birds and beyond,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA’s advice to caring consumers is to stick with stores that don’t sell live animals.”

According to the Department of Agriculture records, PetSmart stores also came under fire in Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Colorado Springs, Monument, Pueblo, Greeley, and Loveland. Stores obtained animals, including sick guinea pigs, from a California supplier that provided illegal veterinary inspection certificates. Cats were kept in cramped cages and rooms “heavy” with a “stagnated urine smell.” Multiple stores were cited for not having written agreements with veterinarians and proper records, including for animals who had sustained injuries, were ill, or escaped during boarding and grooming.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that PetSmart also reportedly advertised grooming services in Colorado as recently as April 13, despite PACFA Program guidance stating that such services aren’t critical and should temporarily close in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

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