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Hidden Camera Exposes Lack of Animal Care at a Petco Store

Updated on August 11, 2016

Adopt, Adopt, Adopt!

In the city of Austin, there are no pet stores where you can buy dogs and cats because of the large negative view on them due to many pet stores who carry dogs and cats usually get them from puppy mills. Instead it was decided for animal shelters to partner with pet stores like Petco and Petsmart to adopt out animals in Austin. Both stores stress the importance of adopting an animal instead of paying 1100, 1500 dollars for an single pet. But what about the small animals held in stores? These animals come from vendors and PETA recently exposed the conditions that were in vendors such as lack of care, free roaming cats which would pray on the small animals, dead animals in with the live animals, the freezing of animals while alive, and the list goes on.

Unclean habitats

Images shows ferrets in an unclean habitat.
Images shows ferrets in an unclean habitat. | Source

Where do the animals come from?

So where do stores such as Petco get their animals from? Well, it has already been said they get their animals from vendors, but who are the vendors? One of the vendors is Marshall Farm Group. They're the same company that has products in stores as well. They sell ferret food, and litter, and hamster food, and many other products. Not a lot of information is known about Marshall and this could be because they're a private company, but its probably because the facility is a testing and breeding facility for dogs, and ferrets.

Marshall was founded in the 1930's by Gilman Marshall, and is currently the largest ferret breeder in the country. Their ferrets are seen mostly in Canada, and the United States but in recent years, there has been an increase of ferrets in Japan. How do you know if your ferret is from Marshall is by looking in the ear for two dots. But breeding ferrets isn't what gets Marshall in the news, but usually its how they treat their animals, the conditions of the animals, and the animal testing they do onto animals.

When it comes to hamsters, and reptiles, birds, and fish, they all come from other vendors, some of whom are public and while others are private. But regardless of where Petco get their animals from, the animals once in the Petco store should be in good hands.

The Cover Up Trailer

What ex-employees of Petco are saying.

When asked about the conditions of the animals of Petco, many ex-employees weren't afraid to speak up about their experiences. The creator of the documentary The Cover Up was quick to put in her opinion.

"There could be many reasons why animal suffering is seen in these stores," says Candice Rogers. "But the main reason is the store manager not caring. I know when I worked at Petco, he didn't care-all he cared about was the money."

Money-that makes sense considering Petco like many other retail stores is a business after all, and the goal of most businesses is to gain capital. This capital is used to support the store, support the employees, and support the animals. However, it seems misleading for Petco to say, "Here at Petco animals come first" when that doesn't seem to be the case for this one Petco store in Austin.

When speaking with another ex-employee who was terminated wrongfully, we asked her if any of the employees did anything in regards to the store manager not keeping the animals safe.

Lisa Gonzalez was an employee for five years before being terminated "wrongfully". Gonzalez responds, "We would often tell the district manager at the time about it. He would come and visit, but nothing. Pretty much, the employees who cared did what we had to do. But there have been times when me or other employees who care about the animals were off and when we come back, we see dead animals, sick animals, animals walking around in their own filth. It was disgusting!"

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"Stop selling animals!"

Another ex-employee of the Austin store, who didn't want his name to be said, mentioned customer complaints about the lack of care of the animals at the store. One customer, the young male said, said the store shouldn't sell live animals as pets nor food because not only did it seem the employees weren't treating them right, but the customers weren't educated enough to take care of the animals.

When asked if he thought customers were ignorant to the animals within the store, he agreed. "I don't want to say that all customers don't know anything about these animals, but for the most part a lot of them don't take the time to do research. And we teach them as best as we can in the short of amount of time, but for the most part, those customers leave with the animal, come back a week or so later and it's dead."

The young male then went on to say the employees at the store do have the right to not sell an animal if they feel the animal isn't going to a good home, but the customers get upset, and complains. When they complain, the store manager gets upset with the employees and tells them they need to sell the animals regardless. "It's damned if you do and damned if you don't." He said.


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