Neglect, Suffering, and Slow Deaths at PetSmart Leads to Police Action

PETA’s Multistate Exposé Prompts Police Sting, Reveals Failure to Provide Needed Veterinary Care, Animals With Contagious Diseases, and More

For Immediate Release:
March 29, 2018

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

Today, PETA released disturbing video footage and photographs showing systemic neglect and widespread animal suffering documented by an eyewitness during an investigation of three PetSmart, Inc., stores across the country, including one in Peoria, Arizona, near the company’s Phoenix headquarters. The investigation—which also included PetSmart locations in Brandon, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee—prompted law-enforcement authorities to execute a search warrant at the Nashville store this morning. The following are some of the findings:

  • In Brandon, managers failed to evacuate animals during Hurricane Irma and workers returned four days later to find that several had escaped, others had died, and approximately 30 small mammals were without water. Workers also deprived a bird of veterinary care for at least five days as the animal starved, suffered from dehydration, and then died.
  • In Peoria, a supervisor advised dealing with hamsters who had attacked others by “squeeze[ing] as hard as you can.” This hamster species is solitary, but PetSmart stores often housed these animals together, leading to fights. The eyewitness was also instructed not to inform customers that the store was selling fish suffering from ich, a highly contagious disease that would infect other fish in an aquarium.
  • In Nashville, managers were observed repeatedly refusing to provide sick, injured, and dying animals with veterinary care in order to “keep costs down” so that they would receive bonuses. One guinea pig suffered from an abscessed wound on his back, dehydration, and painful gastrointestinal stasis, and a mouse languished for more than a month with an inflamed eye and an apparent respiratory infection before dying. Nashville authorities have already executed a search warrant and opened a criminal investigation into the store.

“This exposé is the latest example of systemic suffering and neglect at PetSmart stores,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges consumers never to buy anything—even supplies—from this chain until it stops selling animals.”

The investigation also revealed that PetSmart stocked animals with diseases, such as ringworm and coccidiosis, that are transmissible to humans and that it failed to schedule staff to care for, feed, and water animals over Thanksgiving and Christmas, despite having an annual revenue of $7 billion.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—has released seven exposés revealing the abusive conditions endured by animals bred for sale at big-box pet store chains. In this latest investigation, a Nashville supervisor was recorded instructing staff not to tell customers that PetSmart buys animals from Sun Pet, Ltd., a massive Atlanta warehouse that was put on probation by the Georgia Department of Agriculture following a PETA investigation in 2010.

Broadcast-quality video footage from PETA’s nationwide investigation is available here. For more information, please visit

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