Boycott Watch
Petco Pet Stores Boycotted After Animal Cruelty Charges
   Summary: Animal rights activists are boycotting the large, chain pet stores operated by PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. claiming animals are not taken to the vet when something is wrong. Claimant states: "Depending on the illness, they may end up in a freezer and not having the problem checked by a veterinarian."
   Boycott Watch previously reported that we had to assume that since a law suit was filed by PETA against Petco, Boycott Watch expects the fact to only come out as the case progresses. We therefore assumed the facts as presented by PETA since companies in such situations can not comment on pending legal matters, even though it puts them at a disadvantage.

   Since that time, Boycott Watch conducted our own investigation into Petco stores by randomly visiting numerous stores across the country, and in California in particular since that is where the claims of abuse are based. Our study also included stores in Illinois, Michigan and New York, among other states.

   Since the various boycott Petco websites tend to complain about the conditions of the stores birds, our investigation concentrated on birds in every store, but we examined the conditions of all animal species on display. Boycott Watch rated the stores on the following criteria:

Overall Cleanliness
General Store Appearance and Lighting
Friendly Staff
Knowledgeable Staff
Clean Animal Environments (cages, fish tanks, etc.)
Animal Health and Welfare
Proper Animal Identification Labels
Proper Feeding, bedding and Clean Cages
Clear Identification of Verification of the Veterinarian Responsible for that Store
Proper Animal Pairings (We don't want to have kids seeing rabbits mate in a store)
Sensitivity to Children Regarding Feeder Animals
Overall Impression of Animal and Store Condition

   Boycott Watch rated each store on the above criteria. The category of "Overall Impression of Animal and Store Condition" was designed to allow comments by our staff while reviewing the stores in order to go beyond the ratings and lower the stores overall grade, but not raise it. This was done so we could give maximum credibility to the boycott claim, not because we may or may not agree with the boycott. Boycott Watch always wants to be as fair as possible, and this time we gave the boycotters the benefit of the doubt so we can not be judged as being biased against those who are sponsoring the boycott in case we decided against them.

   In our survey, every store except one received an A- or higher grade. The exception is a store in Los Angeles that received an overall grade of B because there were 2 unattended stacks of pet food in an isle that was most probably intended for the shelves and because the store should have had brighter lighting. One store in Illinois was on the border between an A- and a B+ because it's lighting made the store look dirty even though it was spotless, but received an A- because the stores overall impression was excellent and the store manager took extra time to explain how the store acquires the animals they sell.

   The stores we visited received an overall and average grade of A in spite of the single B that one store received.

   Boycott Watch found no evidence of any animals being placed in freezers or mistreated in any way as the boycotters claim. The store managers and staff all appeared to have animal welfare in mind. Every store had a sign listing the name of the veterinarian for that store as well as the doctor's phone number so any customer can call that doctor. The store managers we spoke to were all happy to answer every question we had to our complete satisfaction and no store was ever aware that Boycott Watch was conducting an investigation. Boycott Watch investigators posed as customers and we saw no evidence of any attempt to cover up any of the claims in the boycott web sites. In essence, the Boycott Watch investigation resulted in no evidence to backup any claims by the boycotters.

   As a result, Boycott Watch believes that the claims leading to the boycott of Petco stores is unfounded and baseless.
Note: March, 2003
Boycott Watch visited several Los Angeles area Petco stores and saw no evidence of abuse as charged by PETA - Full investigation started.
Note: January, 2003
   PETA has listed other abuse cases and claims on a new web site dedicated to Petco abuse charges
Note: November 14, 2002
   Findings: Currently two Petco stores have been named in a San Francisco animal cruelty law suit. The stores are accused of cruel and illegal treatment of animals in a lawsuit filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
   No other Petco stores are named in this case nor should the charges of abuse be projected on any other Petco store. Additionally, the abuse charges may be proven false. Boycott Watch is not confirming abuse nor is Boycott Watch suggesting to buy nor refrain from buying from any pet store or stores.
   Note: When a lawsuit is filed, Boycott Watch considers the boycott call to be verified since the two parties obviously disagree. This is not to be considered a determination of opinion by Boycott Watch whatsoever, rather an acknowledgment of the disagreement and an acknowledgment that the boycott call exists. The defendant will most likely deny the claim outright. An attempt will be made to obtain a statement from the defendant. Such statements are usually denials if the claims without any specific details since statements may affect the outcome of the lawsuit.
Note: November 13, 2002
   PETA FILES SEC COMPLAINT OVER PETCO FAILURE TO DISCLOSE ANIMAL STATISTICS AND POLICIES IN ANNUAL REPORT: “Investors have a right to know of PETCO’s abusive animal practices,” says group
   Submission to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Complaint Center
News coverage:
   SAN FRANCISCO, June 18, 2002 - City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued Petco Animal Supplies today alleging cruel and illegal treatment of animals at the company's San Francisco stores.
Boycott Petco sites:
   Avian Welfare Coalition
   Petno - Where Pets Die (Petco
   The PETCO Boycott
   The Stop Live Animal Sales at Petco
   The Beak Retreat

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 ©2002 Boycott Watch