Protect Animals from Inhumane Pet Stores


Target: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Administrator Kevin Shea

Goal: Improve regulations and guidelines to ensure the welfare of retail pet store animals

In light of the outcry against puppy mills that supply many pet stores with unhealthy animals, other animal welfare issues related to pet stores have not gotten quite the same intensive focus. But across the country, hundreds of thousands of animals are subject to neglect and denial of basic needs. Demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service enact stricter regulations and protections for animals sold in stores.

Animals in pet stores are subjected to intense overcrowding, even in large chains such as Petsmart and Petco.  Rats, mice, and other small animals are displayed in glass cages completely unsuitable for their mental and physical needs. Typically, there are no toys or any sort of stimulation, and illness is far more likely to spread in such confined and cramped quarters. Overcrowding can also lead to injuries and wounds sustained by animals that cannot run away from fights, and infections because of unsanitary conditions. Such limited space forces these animals to live in very close proximity to their own waste.

Large parrots are often kept alone despite their need for social interaction and mental stimulation. Some birds develop stereotypic behaviors from sheer boredom, and others fall ill and go unnoticed and without treatment, as employees may not always know the signs of sickness. Often, sick or dying animals are removed from the sales floor, but in many cases, as undercover reports have shown, animals are not treated; instead, they are placed in freezers and left to die.

It is quite clear that animals in pet stores nationwide need more protection. Despite revisions to retail pet store regulations, animals are forced to live in cramped, stressful conditions without enough mental stimulation. Cages are typically too small to meet the needs of birds, rodents, fish, and reptiles, and frequently overcrowded. Too often sick animals can go unnoticed, and do not receive the veterinary care they need. Many are even killed or left to die, the cheaper alternative to expensive vet care.

Laws have failed to protect these animals from inhumane conditions and wide-spread suffering. We must demand the United States government address these issues and put an end to neglect.


Dear Administrator Kevin Shea,

Pet stores have often come under fire for selling dogs from animal mills, but as this problem has been addressed, another has been neglected. Namely, the widespread neglect of animals sold in pet stores across the country. Frequently they are kept in overcrowded, cramped conditions that foster disease and infection from injuries. There is little stimulation, and small animals like rats and guinea pigs have almost no room in which to play or exercise. Birds face similar situations, with large social parrots kept alone and without the space they need, and smaller avians in crowded cages.

Though retail pet store regulations have been revised, they are simply not enough. Large-scale retail chains do not provide enough room or adequate stimulation for their animals, and they are left to suffer in a system that places profit over welfare. Though many of these animals are not typical companions, they are just as deserving of protection and welfare as dogs and cats, and something must be done.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Polarqueen at the English Language Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. My main concern is not direct abuse of pet store animals, but simple neglect from lack of sufficient employees devoted to their care, and of course lack of veterinary care. Some pet store chains are moving to offer abandoned animals to homes, but not selling animals anymore. This seems a great way to go. Those stores who do continue to sell animals should be regulated and monitored as well as possible by the authorities. An obvious choice for anybody (who proves to be honest and caring) to obtain a pet is to adopt, not buy.

  2. I have heard of horror stories that take place inside pet stores but I’ve been told by a couple of my friends and workers at PetsMart that not all employees are some cruel, inhumane monsters. The same could be said for anybody, in any industry. I do believe that a lot of the pet stores have done good by offering weekly adoptions and training classes. Shouldn’t we praise them for that? And as for neglect and abuse, I think the employees should be carefully educated and monitored. And if one of them sees animal abuse, he/she should report it.

  3. Anne coppens says:

    Laisser vivre ceux qui ont ete cree
    Comme nous( surtout qu’ils le

  4. Heidi Mugrauer I AGREE WHIT YOU!!

  5. micheline dm says:

    nobody is superior to any animal!Stop your crimes,Chili!

  6. Stephanie Geyser says:

    Some years ago, I was in a pet store (buying bird seed) and I saw a hamster in a cage, eating a white ball covered with red stuff. I stared at it for awhile – and then I realized it was the skull of her baby (white bone, red blood). What suffering did that hamster endure to go against her maternal instinct, to kill and eat her own baby? I reported it to the SPCA, but nothing was done. I never bought anything again from that pet store. They lost a regular customer. Thankfully, they later closed down. Now I only buy at pet stores that don’t sell live animals.

  7. kay allan says:

    I just do not like pet shops at all, but if they have to be they should have cctv so the animals can never be harmed, but I thought working in a pet shop you would love to work with the animals, but obviously not, pitiful isn’t it

  8. Deborah A. Niwa says:

    What gets me sick going into OUR PET STORE is one day I went in to get something & here was a kid gluing crickets to a cardboard right in public.. as if they couldn’t have respect for the ones that come in that are all species respected in mind NOT TO DO THAT IN PUBLIC..they could go in another room out of sight..made me sick to see them crickets stuck & they couldn’t get loose..I know the next act towards them would probably be freezing..but I didn’t need to see that…

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