Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


PetSmart's Big Suffering for Small Animals

The PetSmart Investigation by PETA

For years, PetSmart has assured PETA that sick and injured animals in its stores are provided with veterinary care when they need it. We didn't take their word for it. During an undercover investigation at the PetSmart store in Manchester, Connecticut, a store that has a Banfield Hospital right inside it and that PetSmart boasts of as having an "outstanding pet care team" and an "exceptional pet care record," PETA documented more than 100 small animals—including hamsters, domestic rats, lizards, chinchillas, and birds—deprived of effective veterinary care and slowly dying, out of customers' sight.

The small animals sold at PetSmart cost the multimillion-dollar company next to nothing and make up a minuscule percentage of the company's total sales. So why does PetSmart buy them by the thousands only to leave them to die from disease and injury?

The answer is simple. Tiny, adorable hamsters—who can feel pain just as keenly as any dog or cat—are frequently bought on impulse when parents can't resist their child's pleading to bring a small animal home. The hamster may not cost much, but supplies add up quickly. Cages, bedding, food, and other paraphernalia—as well as future supplies (as long as the little animal stays alive)—amount to millions of dollars in annual profit. But these tiny animals victimized by this business mogul often pay the ultimate price—forgotten and neglected in a messy back room where they depend on untrained employees to guess what ails them, hamsters and other tiny beings suffer horribly and often die, unseen and untreated.

We alerted PetSmart's corporate headquarters to animal suffering at the Manchester store while our investigator was working at the store undercover. An e-mail message sent to PetSmart executive Bruce Richardson, reporting "animals … routinely deprived of veterinary care [who] often suffer and die as a result" yielded nothing but a meaningless, dishonest reply from Mr. Richardson in which he wrote: "This particular store has an outstanding pet care team and an exceptional pet care record. No pet that has required a vet has been deprived of that service."

Just three examples of many disturbing entries from the PETA investigator's daily log: "On October 23, 2006, a hamster in cage 10 in the sick room was found dead. This was one of the hamsters that I took to the vet on October 20, 2006, due to her having wet tail and crusty eyes. [The Pet Care Manager] had brought her back to the sick room before the vet could see her and told me that … she did not need to see the vet." "On October 26, 2006, E [a supervisor] brought out a long-haired hamster who had died in the sick room. She had been isolated on October 22 for wet tail, and the chart records showed her slow and painful death. Initially the hamster had diarrhea, but she continued to deteriorate and the night before she died the log notes stated, 'eyes shut, hard, dying.'" "On December 21, 2006, [PetSmart's corporate communications department] sent an e-mail to all store managers stating that there has been an outbreak of salmonella in a couple of stores."

The PetSmart back room log notes document the suffering of animals who are "diagnosed" by store employees. Over a three-day period, three different supervisors—including the pet care manager—in the Manchester store wrote on a dying calico hamster's chart, "[Day 1, morning] wobbly, dehydrated, diarrhea … [Day 1, evening] very lethargic/dehydrated, regressing … [Day 2, morning] very wobbly, dehydrated … [Day 2, evening] dehydrated/getting hard, very lethargic … [Day 3, morning] dying, no meds given, can't swallow, regressed … [Day 3, evening] dead" but did not take the animal to a veterinarian even to have her put out of her misery.

The photos of some of the animals treated for diseases such as wet tail and upper respiratory infections show just how miserable they were as they languished, untreated, in PetSmart's custody.

PetSmart's millions mean nothing but penny-pinching shortcuts and misery for the little animals neglected by the company, which is clearly unwilling to or incapable of caring for animals, period. Please do not buy anything from PetSmart until it stops selling all animals. Buy your supplies online or at a store that does not sell animals.

One lucky hamster girl, Gigi, was adopted from the Manchester store's sick room by PETA's investigator and has a “happily ever after” story.

As if the misery that PetSmart inflicts upon the animals it sells for profit weren't enough, PetSmart admits to using glue traps to "control" rats and mice—the same animals the corporation sells as "pets"! When animals get stuck in the glue, patches of their skin, fur, and feathers are ripped off their bodies as they struggle to escape. Some animals are so desperate to escape that they even chew off their own limbs.

Ask PetSmart to end the sale of all animals! Let the multibillion-dollar company know that you will not be setting foot in any of its stores until live animals are no longer part of the inventory.  The animals suffering at PetSmart depend on you!


Photo Gallery - Rainbow World Exotics: PetSmart Supplier & Store Investigation, 2007

PetSmart operates more than 900 pet stores; including 34 stores in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.

Is the same thing happening at Petcetera?

Posted By: Carmina Gooch on Animal Advocates Watchdog page  Friday, 2 February 2007(page no longer active)

In Response To: PetSmart's Big Suffering for Small Animals (Carmina Gooch)

The following notice is posted in the back room of the Vancouver Rupert Street Petcetera outlet. One can only surmise as to what finally prompted the sign.

Sept. 15 "I just found out when a saltwater animal dies we must put the body in the fridge and make a notation of what fish or animal has DIED!" JS - Mr. Dan Urbani, President and CEO of Petcetera can be reached at danu@petcetera.ca


December 19, 2012 Exposed! Hell on Earth for Rats, Reptiles & Other Animals in California - Petition

July 23, 2013 Global Captive Breeders owners' face multiple animal cruelty charges

March 1, 2015 Reptiles Suffer, Left to Die at Another Massive PetSmart Supplier Mill (PETA excerpt)

Read the full story and take action. Don’t be silent. Table of Reporting Animal Cruelty in the United States. In Canada, contact the relevant authorities in your community such as the SPCA, humane society, or police department. Let animal advocacy and animal justice organizations know, as well. Undercover investigations are critical in bringing public awareness as to what really goes on behind the scenes.