We have taken action against a major pet store chain in inner Sydney. We cannot name the store as this case is going to the tribunal.
Summary, this inner city store had 15 kittens crammed into one cage, some were underweight, and some were sick. Whistle blowers called PetStoreAbuse and volunteers visited the store to document the situation.
Two kittens, one with a respiratory infection and severe conjunctivitis, another critically underweight and dehydrated were sold on successive days at this store to our volunteers.
At a time when legislation is being considered to regulate the sale of pets, this unscrupulous behavior highlights the urgent need to ban the sale of mammals from pet shops.
About Complaint Call
A complaint call was made by a shopper who had spotted the sick kittens in a small glass cage with thirteen other animals at the store on Saturday. “You could see they had swollen eyes and were underweight.”
Animal welfare workers who immediately visited the store were shocked to be easily sold the kittens, despite their serious illnesses and overall poor condition. “We wanted to see if the store would sell them, but were astounded at how easy they were to purchase. There was no questions, no care information provided – no one even asked to see ID. There was no acknowledgment that they were selling a living animal”.
“The only advice they offered was that if I was going to let my kitten outside, that I should get a male because then any ensuing babies ‘would not be my responsibility.’”
One of the kittens was sold micro chipped which is a fine-able offense the NSW Companion Animals Act.
“Although the staff seemed nonchalant about the kitten with the red and swollen eyes, the staff did acknowledge that the second kitten was underweight, especially as her ribs were clearly protruding so they gave me a discount to compensate for this and told me that in such a ‘crowded cage’ it is normal for some animals not to get food”.
The two kittens were rushed to vets in inner Sydney where their appalling condition was documented and treatment provided. “As they were in a small cage with 13 other animals they will all be incubating the respiratory infection. The underweight and dehydrated kitten required subcutaneous fluids and is at this stage being syringe fed as she is still very weak.”
The fate of the other kittens greatly concerns welfare workers. “It’s well known that if a pet shop has to medicate sick kittens, they will likely just have them euthanized to save money.”
The Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill recently proposed by MP Clover Moore aims at preventing the suffering and inappropriate sale of animals sold from pet shops.
Importantly it also seeks to empower the consumer by making it compulsory to provide prospective buyers with information on the animal’s history, basic needs, and any additional or on-going costs involved in the daily care of the animal.
Currently, most pet shop employees are taught to prey on impulsive shoppers and families with kids, who have responded emotionally to that ‘cute’ puppy or kitten, duping them into expensive and impractical purchases.
Reports of animals dying within days of purchase from a pet shop is not an uncommon story, nor are the unexpected costs of veterinary treatment for animals bought sick or suffering from the stress of being over handled and housed inappropriately in a busy shopping center.
In a climate where consumers are demanding the ability to make more ethical purchases, these proposed legislative changes will recognize their rights to make informed decisions.
But the greatest cost is to the animal’s life. Most pet shops source the animals they sell from unscrupulous ‘backyard’ breeders. The animals start out their lives in appalling conditions to minimize the cost of their upkeep. In light of their questionable history, it is surprising that these animals, are making it home alive at all.