The Pet Store Blues

I, like most animal lovers, found myself going to visit the pet store for ‘bunny therapy’ and the occasional cuddle. I decided to make an investment and adventure by working at a local pet store. I was not afraid of the expected feces, death, disease and altercations with the feisty creatures. The staff is what made my experience much worse than I ever imagined. With that being said, one of the hardest decisions I ever made was leaving this undesirable position.

I was determined to make a difference. Everyday I saw abuse and mistreatment of the creatures I love most.

Proudly, unlike most of the other employees, I shared compassion with the live “food” lists. No animal should be treated as just food. I could get into a long list of instances that would serve everyone nightmares. The establishments that allow inhumane and illegal acts of cruelty are the places that I want to raise awareness about. I do not mean that all snake lovers and other live food eaters share a passion for torturing innocent animals. The point is that not one animal is beneath another to be treated as such…just food. Food that can be chopped and torn with no second thought of the effects it has on this poor animal before it is eaten.

From this experience I now understand the fundamentals of the business of a pet store and do not agree with it all but I do understand most. What I am not willing to accept is the quality of these animals lives don’t matter. They do. Guilty of it myself, the occasional cuddle turns into impulse buy and keeping these cruel places in business. I am asking everyone to take a look at how the animals are treated, especially the ones deemed as food, before you decide to make any purchases. Major things to look for are:

· Crowding in tank/cage

· Water dishes with slime ring

· Feces build up

· Disease/wounds

· Bedding type — pine is often debated as dangerous to small animals

· Inconsistent pricing

· Always ask staff questions you already know the answer to, to ensure they are not just trying to sell you.

· Fresh Food

· Clean store

· Quality of items being sold — small plastic goldfish bowl is unlivable for any fish

Giving business to stores that do not exceed in these areas is hurting more animals than imaginable. Taking time to find these often overlooked details will save lives and have a huge impact on the pet trade.

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