A few weeks ago, a close friend and I were talking about people ‘rescuing’ neglected animals from pet stores. I told him that I don’t do this nor do I support this practice. His expression told me that I needed to explain my reasons. This is a resulting of our conversation that day and I hope this influences any other peoples’ opinions of rescuing neglected pet store animals.
I related the following- At our online business, we sell many animals. I get a LOT of Emails. Some are inquiries about purchasing animals, some are questions on caring for animals, some are Emails showing off animals purchased some time before. These are always fun Emails to answer. A few however are more difficult to answer but I feel the issue presented must be covered. The E-mail goes one thing like this- “I stopped in at ‘insert your neighborhood pet store name here’ and discovered ‘insert reptile name here’. The animal was going to die and I couldn’t leave it there so I purchased it! How do I care for this animal now?” I always respond with suggestions on care for the animal but follow up with this statement- “Please do not purchase weak/sick/dying animals from this store again!”
We are fortunate in this area (Milwaukee) to have several great pet stores that really know what they are doing. But, we have some that do not know how to care for reptiles. When customers purchase sick animals from stores, that indicates to the owners that they should restock those animals! When buying a sick/dying animal, you are not only jeopardizing your own animals (passing on the sickness) but also encouraging the store to bring in more! Do not purchase these animals. I do not however support boycotts or on-line protests against these pet stores.
At times, the people working in the stores are performing their jobs just as the owners are instructing them to. Most often, it is a lack of knowledge about the animals that cause these problems.
So what is the solution? Attack it at the root! Ask for a meeting with the manager/owner. Mention that you have a great way for him/her to increase profits! Tell them that it will only cost them 10 minutes of their time. That will get their attention.
And how does this store increase profits? By decreasing cost and increasing sales. By minimizing the loss of reptiles, they immediate increase animals available for sale. By providing healthier animals, the store will have less returns of deceased animals and more returning- satisfied customer. Healthier animals look better in their store enclosures and attract more customers. Finally, how does the owner provide healthier animals.
You can offer your service to train the store’s employees during off hours through a live demonstration/discussion. And if you don’t completely feel comfortable or informed…… contact a fellow reptile keeper such as myself as there is a ton of info out there and we are all concerned about helping provide hobbyists the ability to care for their reptiles as best as they can.