EDIT: I checked the calendar, and it appears that the Petco near me is doing it :(.
All of them about 100 miles of me is doing it :(.
On the Hamster Derby page, you find a store near you, and click on "Store Events calendar."
I *think* my reply is a little different than the standard form, but not too sure. Either way, I'm still furious.
We've conducted national Hamster Ball Derbies several times without a single health or safety incident. Last March, for example, more than 12,000 hamsters raced at PETCO stores nationwide with no reports of health risks or problems among participating animals or pet parents.
*Customers who enjoyed those previous, incident-free hamster race events requested that we allow other animals to participate.
*We asked our chief veterinarian and Animal Care & Education team for their recommendation about allowing other animals to participate. They said it would be safe to allow mice, gerbils, rats, chinchillas and guinea pigs to race as well, as long as all small animals race in appropriately sized exercise balls.
*Our store associate training guide for this event states the importance of keeping different species from mixing together; properly cleaning and disinfecting the race track; and ensuring customers rest their pets between race heats.
*Our event brochures encourage customers to hold training sessions with their pets at home to help ensure their small animals will be comfortable in the hamster balls and be able to participate.
*Participants clearly see their pets as part of the family and enjoy these all-for-fun competitions as another way to celebrate the human-animal bond.
We appreciate and share your concern. Pet safety is a top priority at our store events and in all we do at PETCO. We are proud of our record and will continue to take prudent steps to ensure the upcoming derby and critter run is a fun and safe event for all participants.
Thank you again for contacting PETCO.
Apparently, you need to obtain a new Animal Care and Education Team, because they are unaware of the serious injuries that Guinea Pigs and Chinchillas can and do suffer from excersise balls, not to mention the severe STRESS that it causes these animals.
Having said that, I fear that is it your CORPORATE bottom line that you are more concerned about, because it is common knowledge for any competent vet to have this information. You are putting guinea pigs and chinchillas AT RISK, and you are doing so under the cloak an "ok" from your "chief vet".
Has "Chief Vet" cracked open a book since 1985?