- Supporter in '08
But GP's would be different as people don't always value them the same way as dogs and there is a lot for the average person to learn, your store could help this by showing them the right cages, beds, hidey houses, food, water and maybe a colorful poster of the vegetable chart they should be eating.
In my town we have three family owned petstores. One with dogs and the works, one with only small and furry and reptile, and the third I am happy to report is now pet supply only! That is the store I frequent. They don't sell any animals, but they do usually have kittens available to adopt. They don't turn a profit on these kittens but when you walk by and see them frolicking in the window it forces you to go in and visit with them because they are so precious! Then you see their supplies, knowledge, friendly attitude and want to support them.
Some other ideas I had above were on supply and demand. When I first got my pigs I had a super pet cage because it was the biggest I could find. Then I found GL and saw C&C cages and was going to order one off eBay until my boyfriend wanted to make it instead. I was too lazy, I am sure there are tons like me who would prefer to buy one and not have to make one.
Also I bought my pigs this bed from the pet store.
They hated it and never ever went in it. I had to place them in it and bribe with lettuce so I could take pictures. I tried with the Weaver beds and they popcorned so hard for about 3 full minutes that Vinny (pictured) fell out of his Weaver bed! It was amazing and hysterical. They love them and I have no idea what the difference could be other then these were made with love.
If you wanted to go crazy and really drum up business you'd show people the horrors of breeding mills with big shiny photos. You could have adoption day, the pet of the week, raffle prizes, the sky is the limit. It would be my dream pet supply store. Plus a lot of things you can buy from GL members are great for rabbits, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, and other small animals.
Actually, I was talking with my mom this week about building a little "adoption info center" at the shop, with a poster, flyers, and donation jar for each of the various rescues in the area (GPs, rabbits, ferrets, dogs, cats, iguanas, etc). Maybe we could add a section about the alternative- a clear but not-too-graphic explanation of where pet store animals usually come from, and why not to buy at big box stores.
I just spent a lot of my time, money, and worry on some of the breeding stock that was being used to supply the local independent pet store. People were buying these pretty black and white dalmation colors and Abby pigs. The breeder advertised in the paper, sold to the store, and did not sell large numbers of babies- she seemed to be quite a responsible breeder. The town I grew up in is small, I knew this lady and never thought twice about what she was doing. The petstore is one I loved, and spent a lot of time in as a kid- my parents did most of their shopping there for our pets over the years.
2 months ago, the local humane society got a call from someone who had gone the the breeder's house to pick up a piece of furnature. She didn't think the conditions she saw were quite right. So, animal control went over and the breeder assured them that everything was in order, showed them the pigs and explained their care. It seemed reasonable to the AC officers (who didnt know about guinea pigs) so they left. The person who complained didn't let up and got a local vet involved. The breeder became defensive and angry at the "interference". The AC officers told her they were coming back. This is what they found AFTER they had been educated by the vet. The breeder was convinced she was treating her breeding stock "well".
-Baby pigs about 4 weeks old, separated by sex just taken from mom. Babies were healthy, happy, eating pellets and hay. They were in TINY cages, but they were about to go to the pet store to be sold. These were located in the front room.
-In the back of the house, adult pigs were living separated by sex except for the pairs she was actively breeding. Adults were on clean news paper bedding, in home made wire cages stacked on top of one another. They had pellets and hay. The cages were about 3ft by 5ft and had about 10 males or females in each.
- The pigs all had the same host of problems. They had scurvy from not being fed veggies. Their teeth were rotten and falling out. 2 months after they were removed, I still have pigs who's teeth shatter constantly. They had NEVER been treated for mites or lice. Their skin looked like raw meat in places and they would scream in pain just from brushing up against something. They were covered in cuts, scars, abcesses from fighting (too small conditions). I had a boar with an infected cut on a testicle that the vet said it was a miracle it healed at all. They all had URI's and had never been treated. Several of them have scarred lungs now. The pigs all had serious socialization issues from living like they did. A boar I just adopted out STILL has trouble with attacking other pigs after they are introed and settled in a cage....24hrs later. Pigs were bred at 3 or 4 months of age. I had a sow die trying to give birth to a very large pup. She was too small to give birth.
I could tell you all of the breeder's reasons for why she was responsible and caring. She did NOT get fined in court because she honestly beleived she was providing adequate care to her breeding stock. They could still breed and give birth in their condition. The babies looked good. People who bought from her honestly thought she was a responsible breeder.
The most important part is that a whole community was "fooled". I wouldn't be supprised if your Mom is fooled in the same way. It says nothing about her intelligence! The babies were healthy and happy- no one ever saw the lethals that were produced until the AC officers found a dead lethal pup in the corner of a cage. No one saw the breeding stock, since she brought the babies to the pet store.
I think it is fantastic that you are going to work on finding ways to have rescue pigs in your store. Having a local small business to support would just thrill me! I think though, that it's hard to really understand the cycle of breeders, pet store pigs, impulse owners, and YOU if you have no first experience. I sure as hell didn't know any of this when I got my first pig, and I REALLY didn't get the "don't support petstores" thing until I had these rescue pigs.
- Supporter in '08
Let me tell you when I was 14 years old I was at a show (bands playing) and the Animal Defense League was there with posters and a video playing showing animal abuse in slaughter houses and so on. Let's say I haven't eaten meat in 14 years. I stopped right then. All it took was those big shiny pictures.
Breeders near me have gotten bustly it seems a lot recently. One lady had 88 pigs and various others animals, a Vet ratted her out after seeing one pig she brought in. All animals were taken from her but are all in foster care and not adoptable as she is fighting the charges. Apparently she'll never get them back but could be hung up in the courts for a year.
Feylin, you are so right. The babies barely weened are perfect while the breeding pair is skin and bones barely clinging to life being forced to give birth over and over till they die.
Let me tell you I was tricked too! I would never get a cat or dog from a petstore, only a rescue but until I found GL I had no idea there were rescue agencies for GP's.
Honestly though, if it were me, I don't think I would take a breeder's word for it that they are "treating the animals right" - I would insist on seeing the breeders myself, same as if I were buying a puppy or anything else.
EDIT: Let me clarify that last statement was hypothetical- if I get any other pets they will be adoptions.
I think she was in total shock and gave up her animals right away. The pigs hair pretty much covered the big sores, and the little stuff always healed. She learned from books and thought she was doing right. The cages were clean, the pigs always had fresh hay and water. Sometimes babies died, but to her they were obviously not right (lethals) and she had no clue about the genetics.
So yeah, I could be mean and say she was a complete idiot for not researching guinea pig care. But. She DID and she found sources that are wrong. She wasn't one of those breeders that has 80 pigs in a shed out back- just a lady with 10 or so of each sex who had a "hobby".
Anyways- you caught me at a bad time on this topic. Alice, the sow, died a week ago and I adopted out 2 of the worst boars yesterday which made me drag up all their vet reccords and remember t all. I was swayed by the hugenormous amount of niceness in the thread so far (on your part) or I would have been really not a nice person about it.
I think that you do not get it at all. I also think that you are here and at your pet shop in good faith, though, and doing what you know to be best. I can't ask anything else from anyone and being a not nice person never accomplishes anything. I can't really fault you for not getting it- I didn't get it until I experienced it. And honestly? I think I had too much experience. Reflecting back on cleaning up this "responsible breeder's" mess, I am just drained emotionally not to mention financially (plus my family thinks i'm freaking insane).
Please stick around here and share with us about your shop and pig/ fish/ crapweasel. I think you would be an excellent person to advocate for guinea pigs once you have your experience to help you get it.
Thank you for being able to drain yourself financially and emotionall enough to help those poor piggies. I think you are freaking wonderful to do what you did.
What you described about those poor guinea pigs is what I have seen in photos of puppy mills. The 'for sale' puppy stock looks so nice and cute...but then you see the parents and it's a living horror show on earth.
"Kids bored this summer? Why not get them a pet! Hamsters & Guinea Pigs coming soon"
The pet store is totally disgusting. It is very dirty inside, the fishtanks are green, they keep small animals in little aquariums, I could just go on and on about how wrong the place is.
There guinea pigs come from a breeder, I know this because I went in to get some emergency hay and they had a very very sick looking pig on the floor (With a hamster wheel) so I asked about him/her. They told me it was a girl when really it was a boy (I had to show them how to properly sex him), then they went on to tell me he came from a breeder and that is where they get all their pigs.
Anyways back to the sign that made me so mad! Why say that? A small pet is just going to provide maybe a months worth of entertainment for a small child then they will be bored again! Once school starts up they will forget all about the damn pet!
I absolutely HATE this pet store and I hate that our small town would even continue to shop there!