PetCo and the Hamster Ball Derby.

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Post   » Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:25 am

Not that this will come as any sort of a surprise to anyone here, but PetCo is sponsoring an event next month in which they're encouraging people to race not only hamsters, mice, and rats in critter balls, but also guinea pigs and chinchillas. A few rescues have complained vociferously, and one recieved the following email:
Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for sharing your concern about the upcoming Hamster Ball Derby and Critter Run.

Our concerns, like yours, include animal care and safety at all our events. In planning the upcoming race event, we took into account the following considerations:

* 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.


Bonnie M.
Customer Relations Coordinator
They've also apparently started taking the admonition against critter balls off the guinea pig care sheets.

The problem right now is that while we know that critter balls are bad for pigs and chins, (luckily) none of us has had a pig that's been injured by one of these horrid things. We're looking for something a bit more substantial to send back other than "everyone knows they're bad you flaming idiots". Have any of you had any direct experience with injuries caused by critter balls to either guinea pigs or chinchillas?

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Post   » Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:10 am

Sorry, Kaz, no. But I'm going to complain, too.

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Post   » Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:26 am

There, complained. I hope they reply.

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Post   » Thu Aug 09, 2007 6:42 am

Actually, their care sheets STILL advise about injuries caused to guinea pigs by exercise balls:

Everybody that's going to show up to this thing and hand out information to folks, or who want to help, it'd be great if you could get your local pig savvy vets to sign a short statement about the dangers of exercise balls and wheel for inclusion in flyers. (And let them know it'll be included, so they don't freak out when they find out).

Even Republicans Give!

Post   » Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:15 am

Maybe we can combine this with the other thread?
petco event thread .


Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:49 am

Mea culpa, I totally missed that one.

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