PETCO Store Reverses Policy on Selling Animals After Flooding

peruvian guinea pig being heldImage courtesy of Flutterbyes Animal Rescue
The PETCO store in Johnson City, New York, that experienced flooding from Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011 reopened its doors on Monday, April 16 with a new policy in place. While there were no human casualties, nearly one hundred guinea pigs, hamsters, birds and reptiles died in the store when the decision was made not to evacuate ahead of the storm. About 100 animals were rescued after the flooding and moved to other areas.

The company’s Vice President of Regional Operations, John Drew, said they have a new policy specific to flood plains to prevent another tragedy. While the PETCO chain will continue to sell animals at more than 1,100 other outlets across the US, the store on Harry L. Drive will no longer sell any animals.

Instead, an adoption center will be featured in the store to connect customers with dogs and cats and other small animals like guinea pigs and rats. Flutterbyes Animal Rescue Group will be coordinating the adoption process.

“All of us together, bringing rescues together, opening the center. The more resources you have, the more animals you can help,” Karen Utter, Flutterbyes Director, told YNN. “Tragedy happens, you move on. You learn from it.”

While the community might be happy to have their store back after the tragic loss last year, Dan Paden of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals feels it is not enough. “Animal suffering at pet stores isn’t limited to those located in flood plains.” he explains in a post in The Miami Herald.

PETA has been appealing for pet stores like PETCO to stop the sale of animals entirely, leaving stores to only sell pet supplies. Is this the first step towards a new company policy? I’m sure many eyes will be on the Johnson City store in the coming months as a model to the rest of the PETCO chain.

Paden is optimistic. “Now it’s time for all pet retailers to reverse course and sell only animal supplies – never animals. Not selling animals should be the rule, not the exception, and we can all bring that about.”

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Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT

Angela founded Guinea Pig Today and guest writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue and supports the ROUS Foundation. Her guinea pig, Papua, is the star of WHEK-TV/DT.

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2 Responses to “PETCO Store Reverses Policy on Selling Animals After Flooding”
  1. Crystal says:

    That’s a start. A small start. I want to see ALL chain animal stores stop selling small animals. Maybe then I’ll buy more than just emergency supplies there. I hope they’ll also look at getting rid of their shoddy care guides and replacing them with reputable information and products.

  2. Melissa says:

    I think these pet stores need to consider making the move towards being “adoption outposts” only. Other pet stores have gone that route & it’s proven beneficial to both the pet store & the local rescues, working together to adopt abandoned or unwanted animals rather than contributing to the problem.

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