State Warns PetSmart Over Severe Animal Welfare Violations

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

For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Asheboro, N.C. – Damning North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) records from between February 2017 and December 2019 reveal that the PetSmart store near Asheboro was cited for at least 23 violations of the state’s Animal Welfare Act, which requires the bare minimum standards of animal care. As a result, the NCDA&CS has warned PetSmart that further violations may result in penalties of up to $5,000 per violation—and action against the store’s license to operate.

NCDA&CS inspectors repeatedly found sick animals on display, including cats who “consistently” sneezed and had ocular discharge—but were denied veterinary care—and cats without any water at all or whose water was contaminated by litter. They repeatedly directed PetSmart staff to clean the facility, including after finding a litterbox “overflowing” with feces and six kittens confined in “tight quarters” amid their own waste. On five occasions, the NCDA&CS inspected the store at or after 11 a.m. and found that cages had yet to be cleaned each time, even as late as 2:30 p.m. During one visit, an inspector opened an enclosure door to inspect a cat “only to have the entire door and frame fall off.” The store also lacked records for animals available for adoption on six consecutive inspections.

“Any person who takes care of animals is required to provide them with clean water, veterinary care, and other basic necessities, and a billion-dollar company should be held to those same standards,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA’s advice to caring consumers is to stick with stores that don’t sell live animals.”

Online stores that aren’t affiliated with chains that sell animals, like 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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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind