1. Enclosures are WAY, WAY bigger than any store or shelter.
2. The one I saw appeared healthy. Clear bright eyes, no
drainage visible anywhere.
3. Clean shiny fur.
4. Plain pelleted food, no junk in it.
5. Poo's looked normal and plentiful.
It's more that pet stores get their animals from mills - in the case of a store that doesn't sell cats or dogs but just rodents etc, rodent mills. Even if a store is taking excellent care of their animals, they're still purchasing them from a breeder or sorts, most likely a mill that overbreeds many species of animals.
There are a lot of 'smaller' chains than Petco or Petsmart, and a lot of mom and pop stores that aren't a part of chains at all, but they still have to get their animals from some place - and any good breeder (and I'm speaking more from a general standpoint, or really a rat standpoint here - I don't agree with any sort of guinea pig breeding) won't sell their animals to a pet store, period. So... I think thats the general line that defines a 'good' petstore from a bad - a 'good' one being one that doesn't sell animals, period.
- Got Pigs?
The best pet store is one who DOES NOT sell animals, but does sell high quality pet items, like food, bedding etc. (in my opinion, that is).
- In Memory of Mama
- In Memory of Mama
- All for the Hogs
I don't believe in selling animals in a petstore under any circumstances. However, there's a difference in Petsmart and Petsmart Charities. Petsmart Charities has been very kind in donating litter, supplies, food, a physical location, etc. to our rescue (who adopts out of two of their stores). Without having this as a support there are thousands of cats who would not have found homes or who would have been euthanized. I speak of just the rescue I work with--Petsmart Charities helps across the country.
Now for the other part.... I still don't believe in selling animals, so I don't buy them. I also buy the bulk of my animal supplies from a local independent store that doesn't sell animals. The only time I vary this is for certain things like Carefresh, water bottles, and pigloos because this local store just does not ever carry this kind of stuff. They do sell Oxbow for rats and pigs and I'm beginning to think I'm their biggest buyer of the brand.