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 A Trip Behind the Scenes at One of the Most Popular Pet Stores (Pet Land) Please read...

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PostSubject: A Trip Behind the Scenes at One of the Most Popular Pet Stores (Pet Land) Please read...   Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:19 am

I seen a documentry on animal planet about pet land buying dogs from puppie mills and i knew i had to post this.




You hear a lot of gossip and rumors about some pet stores and some pay heed to them but others refuse to believe unless they've actually experienced a problem from that particular store. They wave off all concerns thinking that everything looks fine there to them so everything must be ok. Well for all you out there who doubt that Petland is a horrible place to buy pets or supplies from read on...

I went to work for Petland in Beaumont, Texas about 9 years ago because I loved animals and wanted the chance to work with them. That particular Petland location was closed down last I heard but Petland still operates in many, many states and even overseas. They displayed a plaque from the Better Business Bureau and everything looked so nice that I was very happy and excited when I was hired but during the course of working there about two years I learned what went on behind closed doors.

I've left out gossip and second hand information in this so everything in here are things that I saw with my own eyes. I cannot promise you that ALL Petland stores are this bad, or even this good, but I can tell you that ALL Petland stores should be boycotted because I've contacted the main office several times and the fact is that Petland, Inc. doesn't care two bits about the suffering I witnessed. As long as they get their money they'll continue to let any store abuse their animals. If Petland would care to contact me and work with me to put an end to these atrocities I'll be more than happy to help out in any way I can.

I soon was made manager at this store and made it a point to hold the pups for the vet when he visited so I could talk to him about their conditions. The vet only visited each pup once soon after they arrived, shots and wormings were up to the kennel hand after that and I soon found out that the kennel hand would sometimes forget to give a worming or vacination but to keep all the records looking perfect he would write on their charts that he'd given everything on schedule. Who knows how many animals went to homes where the new owners thought that they'd bought a healthy, fully vetted pup only to have it come down with some illness because they truly WEREN'T up to date on everything they needed?

I saw precious few pups that didn't have some sort of problem and most had several, most common was luxating patellas, open fontenels, coccidia, kennel cough, and undescended testicles. The vet and store owner assured me that puppies usually outgrow most of those and the rest was very common and treated with medicine and in my ignorance at the time I believed them.

I don't recall the name of the kennel we bought the puppies from when I began working there but I began paying more attention as my suspicions grew with each customer that complained of a problem. Many, many times customers that bought puppies would come back to say that their puppy developed problems, was sick, wouldn't eat, needed an operation to correct a problem, etc. Some of them were handled quickly and quietly while others had to really fight to have the store reimburse them for vet expenses. When I left they were buying their puppies from a "breeder" called Best Friends in Neosho, MO which I've found out since then is reported to be one of the worst puppy mills. I can easily believe this after seeing the pups in the store but I haven't actually been to Best Friends so I can't vouch for that 100%.

The worst was watching while a few puppies actually died in the store. Several puppies, I believe siberian huskies, would go into some sort of seizure within 24 hours of arriving at the store. The owner insisted that it was simply stress from the trip and would put them in a kennel in the back supposedly so that it didn't "upset the customers." In each case the vet wasn't called to check for problems and the puppy was found dead in the kennel the next morning.

The single most horrible experience I had there was when we got in a lovely little sheltie pup. You could see right off that she was listless and not eating but again the owner waved off our concerns saying that the pup was just tired, stressed, etc. Finally customers started pointing her out so she was put in the back out of their sight. She was the first one I checked on each day to see if I could coax her to eat a bit of food or just pat her a little since she was never let out of that kennel and must've been so lonely.

I got there one day and when I went to check on her found her laying on her side with her eyes matted up and mucous running from her nose in a solid stream down to the pan beneath the wire grating. I got a damp rag to wipe her face but when I slid a hand beneath her head to lift it she suddenly jumped up and started literally screaming, trying to run in drunken circles around the kennel, falling down and staggering up time after time. Nearly in tears I put her in a travel kennel and told the kennel hand that I didn't care what the owner said he was to get the pup to the vet right away.

The owner walked in right about then and grudingly agreed. The kennel hand came back in before he ever even got to his car and said "I think this dog is dead." She coldly replied, "What do you want ME to do about it?! Take it to the vet!" The puppy never even made it to the vet, she was already dead. The vet said he suspected distemper, I believe it was, and with early treatment he might've been able to save her. Apparently Petland doesn't feel that vetting ill or injured puppies is "cost efficient."

Another one that sticks out more in my mind was when an Old English Sheepdog pup was brought in with an obvious hip problem even though she got around on it just fine at that time and seemed an otherwise more or less healthy, happy pup. The vet said that it looked like the balls of her bones had come out of the hip sockets and the bones had tried to compensate by growing more bone on top of the balls to meet the hips and surgery would have to be done to correct the problem. The store owner decided that this wasn't cost effiecient and wanted to put her down but I talked her into giving the pup to me. I found her a lovely home with a vet tech who got her the surgery she needed. Other puppies at Petland weren't so lucky.

Even all of that doesn't begin to do justice to what I experienced at that horrible place. If what you've read so far isn't enough to horrify you read on... There were the larger breed puppies that were only fed the same amount as the tiniest toy breeds, the kennels so dirtied that it took customer complaints to get someone to pull the pans and clean them, several dogs in the same kennel sometimes fighting over a food bowl or a larger dog put in with a smaller breed so that the smaller dog was constantly bullied, and so much more. And that's just the pups...

**When we pointed out that some fish tanks had ich we were told to take out the fish with obvious spots and sell the rest. When customers came to complain that their tanks had come down with ich after introducing the new fish they were usually told that it was either just a result of the stress of moving lowering their immune systems causing them to come down with the illness or that there must've been a preexisting problem in the tank and the stress of introducing a new fish had brought it out. What kind of business blames a customer for something they good and well know was the store's fault?

**There was a wonderful oscar fish that would come up to take tidbits of food from our hands. He came down with hole in the head and instead of medicating him he was wrapped in a towel and beat repeatedly on the tiled floor to kill him. That must've been a real pleasant death for him, right?

**The birds were terribly overcrowded and often you'd find one huddled on the bottom of the cage. The other birds wouldn't let them onto the perches or get to the food and water bowls. Everytime I saw one sitting at the bottom like that I knew that it wouldn't be long and sure enough they would eventually die. Can you imagine their misery? Alone, outcast, hurting and starving, constantly harrassed...

**Larger parrots were put out on perches that customers could access then the birds were either abused unwittingly by customers who simply didn't know how to handle them, developed bad habits such as nipping, stealing bits of jewelry, breaking watches, etc., and were actually slapped when they acted out these bad habits. Were these problems really the bird's fault or the store's fault for not protecting them?

**One baby parrot was improperly hand fed food that scalded a hole right through his skin at one time. Can you even imagine being so helpless, not being able to say "ow that's hot," and having SCALDING liquid poured down your throat till a sore appears on the outside?

**Two to three foot ball pythons always arrived at the store starved, with ticks, many with shedding problems from dehydration, and undoubtedly internal parasites. They were all piled into one cage and would huddle on top of each other under the heat light. In a book at the store on ball pythons, there supposedly to educate both new owners and store personel, it specifically says that ball pythons are shy creatures which should be given someplace to hide and must be trained to eat on their own. Petland obviously didn't think this was "cost effective" either. I talked to the vet who suggested injecting a saline ringer solution for dehydration, force feeding, and letting them soak in the sink to help with shedding but despite my best efforts many died.

**Baby ball pythons and red tail boas had mites covering them. They'd soak in their water bowls trying to rid themselves of the discomfort leaving them with water filled with little mites that was only changed once a day at most. They were never medicated.

**Against the vet's advice several kittens were sold at the store that developed severe resperatory problems. The vet said this was in the mall's air vents so that any kitten brought in would develop the same problem and every one that came through there certainly did. The store finally sold very, very few kittens but how many ended up sick and miserable, their new owners being forced to put out loads of money on getting them well?

**Small rodents were crowded sometimes a few dozen each in ten gallon tanks, walking over each other, their tanks incredibly dirty, sometimes several litters being raised together with fights breaking out over them...

**The baby rabbits were kept beneath the large parrot perches so that they had to endure being defecated on, their water bowls fouled, and one even suffered a broken back when one bird fell of it's perch and bit it. Would YOU keep a rabbit beneath a macaw's perch?

**Several rabbits developed eye ulcers and after being kept in a cage in the back where their eyes got worse and worse the owner took them out and turned them loose in the woods. We'll never know what happened to those poor babies. They likely ended up food for some predator, hit by a car, or starved to death. They were domesticated rabbits who had no idea how to fend for themselves but I guess Petland feels that rabbits are cheap so vetting them wouldn't have been "cost effiecient."

**Hamsters were kept where customers could reach in and I often had to chase customers away that thought it was hilarious to put one on their running wheel and spin it around so fast that the hamster tumbled around helplessly inside.

**Guinea pigs were also kept in open cages and many times I'd find customers that thought it was funny to tap their rears to make them leap and scramble away squealing. Is it any wonder that these guinea pigs would scramble and squeal frantically in terror when someone bought one?

**A handfed nanday conure was put in a cage made for a finch so that customers could put their fingers inside and see how gentle he was. He was constantly huddled up in the middle of his perch trying to get away from the fingers poked between the bars and obviously miserable. All he knew was that people raised him so he never even tried to fight back against the frightening fingers.

And the list goes on... I started out there wanting to work with animals, stayed for awhile sneaking around trying to help them, then finally quit in disgust. I wasn't fired so I'm not out for some kind of vengence against a business that fired me. I AM a "disgruntled ex-employee" but I'm only disgruntled about the acts of abuse I witnessed against these poor, gentle creatures.

I'll leave you with one last story that will stay with me forever no matter how much time and old age fades my memories. A little black and tan chihuahua was brought into the store one day that I thought for sure would sell quickly. She was so adorable. When we put her on the floor she would race around, a little blur of black, loved it when we'd jump out from behind a shelf and surprise her, and when we'd call her through the glass in front she wouldn't look at us she would immediately turn to stare at the back of the kennel where the puppies are taken out to wait for us to come get her for a romp. But day after day, week after week she stayed in that kennel.

One day I came to work to find her kennel empty. I was happy she had a home, if a little sad that she was gone, but I soon found her with one leg bandaged up in the back. A customer had let her climb onto his shoulder and she was injured when she fell off. I felt so sorry for her and asked if she could come out after the store was closed to run around but the owner refused from fear that a customer would see her. I even offered to take her home while she healed then bring her back to sell but the owner became angry at my persistance and refused that too. Would it really have been so hard for this person to extend even a tiny bit of kindness to this sweet little girl?

I'm a big dog person and was looking for a great dane at the time but I couldn't stand seeing that sweet little thing penned up like that, her little firey spirit squashed, and bought her. Her name was Chica and she was the most wonderful little dog I've ever had. She would dance at my feet begging for a pat, leap up into the air completely trusting me to catch her and scoop her into my arms, sleep curled up at my neck at night, and delighted in racing through the yard showing our mixed breed how fast she was with a game of tag.

Chica was always very petite and had skin problems making her hair thin but when she was about three years old she gained weight very suddenly and her hair came in thick and glossy like magic. I so hoped that this was a sign that she was healthy but took her to the vet to be sure. To my dismay, but not to my surprise, her systems were beginning to shut down due to genetic defects that hadn't been detected yet.

We did what we could for her and gained her a little time but not nearly what she deserved to have. Before her fourth birthday I let her outside as usual and she was the same way that she'd grown to be, that day was no different. Chica couldn't play tag anymore and she walked stiffly but she seemed cheerful enough and tottered out to sit in her favorite patch of sunshine at the foot of a tree. When I went to get her a few hours later I found her still curled up there, dead.

To read a heartfelt full account of Chica's short life from someone who didn't care if she was "cost effective" or not click here

Am I sorry I ever went to work there? I'm very sorry and will be haunted forever now that I know that I helped perpetuate a cycle of misery by selling those animals but I can't completely regret it all. I did help some animals in there, I had a dearly loved little dog that I wouldn't have traded for anything in the world even if it was only for a short while, and it opened my eyes to the horrors animals endure in pet shops. I share my story now to try and put an end to pet stores that sell animals and puppy mills and in Chica's name and memory I've become an animal rescuer.

Please boycott Petland and all petstores that sell live animals. 9 out of 10 of those puppies in the window came from a puppy mill and the only way to put an end to the abuse is to stop buying them. It's sometimes hard to pass up these little ones, especially the ones who're older or ill in some way, your heart goes out to them and sometimes you just want to help them but every puppy you buy provides a place in that store for yet another puppy mill puppy. We have to end this suffering so please, have the courage to pass that puppy up so that more don't have to suffer this way.

Most states have a Humane Society or pound where dogs are put to sleep everyday because there aren't enough homes for them all and yes, you'd be surprised how many purebred dogs end up there. There's also many rescuers in most states that are under enormous amounts of stress, struggling to house and feed everyone, that need you to adopt a pup from them. With so many less expensive, healthier, puppies in places like these there is no excuse at all for buying one from a petshop.

If you work in a petshop that sells animals or used to work in one please send me your story at amtfool@aol.com. We need the public to see first hand accounts of these atrocities that go on behind closed doors where they can't see them and only you can tell them. All personal information will be withheld if you like and it's such a simple thing to do to make a difference.
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A Trip Behind the Scenes at One of the Most Popular Pet Stores (Pet Land) Please read...
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