State Warns 34 PetSmart, Petco Stores Found Skirting Animal Welfare Act

Inspections Find Sick Cats, Animals Denied Water, Filthy Cages, and More; Stay Away, Says PETA

For Immediate Release:
June 10, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Raleigh, N.C.

PETA has reviewed damning North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services records revealing that 21 PetSmart and 13 Petco locations across the state were ordered to improve conditions for animals in order to comply with the state’s Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

A Charlotte PetSmart store was assessed a $500 penalty for failing to supply veterinary care to Beethoven, a dog who had developed a painful, inflamed scrotum while being boarded at its kennel. A PetSmart store near Asheboro was cited for at least 23 violations of the AWA, including after inspectors found cats who “consistently” sneezed and the facility in need of cleaning, including a litterbox “overflowing” with feces. Sick cats and filthy facilities were found at numerous other stores, such as the Petco in Chapel Hill, where an inspector found waste splattered on a wall, which apparently had not been cleaned in at least five months.

“Any person who takes care of animals is required to provide them with veterinary care, clean living conditions, and other basic necessities, and billion-dollar companies shouldn’t consider themselves above the law,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA regularly receives reports of bad practices and animal suffering at big-box stores, and our advice to caring consumers is to stay away.”

Other stores written up by state inspectors include PetSmart locations in Asheville, Burlington, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, Wilkesboro, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem as well as Petco locations in Durham, Greensboro, Hickory, Kannapolis, Kernersville, and Mooresville. According to the records, cats were found without any water at all or with water contaminated by litter, cats were caged with filthy litter boxes, an agent who inspected one store at 12:50 p.m. found that the cats there had yet to be fed that day, and numerous stores were told to improve their recordkeeping for animals offered for adoption.

Online stores that aren’t affiliated with chains that sell animals, like Petco and PetSmart, include Target, PetFlow, and

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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