Pet Store Problem; Need advice

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Serena
It started with Louie...

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:40 pm


Hi there. I love this web site. I read it all the time but never chat but this story I have needs to be told and I need some good advice.

I visited a small town pet store in Northern Wisconsin to see what it was like because I heard some bad stories from my kids (I'm a counselor). It was in an old building and the first shocker was that the worker behind the counter was smoking a cigarette right in the store! They sold kittens, birds and other exotic pets. When I asked for the guinea pigs, they pointed to the corner where piggies where kept in wire bottom cages on the cold floor. There was no shelter nor food and the water bottle was tinged green (from mold). The three piggies crouched together in a corner and were very frightened. There was a severe case of feces, piled into one corner. Other cages housed piggies that were returned by their owners. One had very long, neglected nails. The worker said that they had more piggies in the back. They breed them, too. She said they keep them in the garage. Now, in northern WI it is either too hot or too cold so I told him that a garage was no place to keep a guinea pig. I also (repectfully) told them that piggies shouldn't be in wire bottomed cages, they should have clean water, shelter, and hay... They were very defensive and asked me to leave.

I called the county humane society and they said that they had complaints on this store before but they didn't have any power to do anything. I talked to my vet and he referenced me to another county's animal shelter. They said that there was nothing they could do because it wasn't their county. I wrote a letter to the pet store owner. I called and wrote a letter to the county sherrif dept. I wrote a letter to the city board. This was done a few months ago and STILL nothing was done! I went to the pet store this week (incognito) and the situation is still the same, just poor different piggies.

I am at a loss. What is just one person to do? Please help me out. I feel like I am crazy for getting so upset about this but if I don't do anything, who will? I've rescued two piggies and I love them to death and wouldn't want my piggies to live like that. Let alone any animal. Your advice really matters here.

Thanks.
Serena

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SuzisZoo

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:43 pm


How sad!! The only thing I can think of is to find a guinea pig rescue in the area and see if they have any advice. I hope you figure something out - good for you for trying to do something.

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karma73

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:46 pm


What about the health department? If there is mold or something worse than that there they can site them for those violations.

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Lucky

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:55 pm


If the authorities won't help, maybe a little pressure from the media would get the situation moving.
Try contecting the press, whether you could get a newspaper or a tv newstation to do a story about the abuse and/or neglect at this store.

Such a shame...

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Serena
It started with Louie...

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 10:00 pm


Great ideas so far. Thanks. I Love the press idea. Our small town newspapers are always looking for good stories. I will try that next.

You know, the sherrif's department kind of mocked me about my complaint. I felt foolish about it but now I am glad to know that others would do the same thing with this pet store.

Joanna

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 10:00 pm


That is just tragic. I agree with Lucky that going to the media is a great option. Very sad.

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karma73

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 10:02 pm


When you go to the newpapers with it try to have a rescue set up to help out should the humane society get involved and start mentioning euthing. Just to be on the safe side. It's horrible to think of them going through any more than they already have.

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Serena
It started with Louie...

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 10:03 pm


By the way. The pet store is called M&S Pets and it is in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. Why should I keep their identity hidden, right?

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Spike789

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 10:35 pm


Here's the Wisconsin Humane Society:
http://www.wihumane.org/news/critter/summer2002/services.html
They have a number and an email to report animal abuse/neglect.

http://www.datcp.state.wi.us/ah/agriculture/animals/welfare/humane-officer/

If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, there is an email address for the State Humane Officer. She may be able to help or give you more info.

Carter

Post   » Thu Dec 04, 2003 10:48 pm


GPLover, I know how you feel in a way. Before I got involved with GuineaLynx and really anything to do with websites on guinea pigs, I went to pet stores looking for guinea pigs. Friend of mine took me to a family owned feed and seed store in a small town near me Greer, SC. I had been in the feed store a number of times, but saw a ad in the phonebook that said they had pets in there. I went to the little elderly lady at the counter and asked if they had guinea pigs, she said yes. She led me to the back where they had rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, birds, hamsters a couple cats and some kittens, two ferrets, some frogs a few lizards, a iguana and one small boa constrictor. The number of rats was so bad it was sickening, the living conditions for all of them was horrible, im not a big snake fan either, but the aquarium it was in was disgusting and it had no room to go anywhere but lay curled on itself. The guinea pigs were in big Rubbermaid horse watering tubs, but with 10 pigs in one (including the litter Gizmo came from). I fell in love with Gizmo and basically his whole family that was in there, but the stores owner (whom the little old lady had to call) told me they were not ready to leave there mother but should in a week. I went back and got him. I'm not really an emotional person and nothing really bothers me, but this did and when I would hold my new infant Gizmo, I couldnt help but think of his siblings and wonder if they even stood a chance on a lifestyle Gizmo was bound to have, how I wished I had adopted two from the litter after finding out they needed a playmate (but then would have felt guilty and wanted all his siblings). I remember the one pig the store owner, that I later met, told me was their dad, how outgoing and friendly he was when the others ran away. After I bought Gizmo, I didnt regret getting him, but I regreted ever seeing the place because I know in my heart those little guys dont stand a chance up there and the pet store is not known since its not promoted outside. I also vowed to myself Id never step foot in the place again or even recommend this place to anyone to do business. I went to the Greenville Humane Society a couple days later to file a complaint, but like the response they gave you GPLover, they would do what they could do. Apparently they did send someone up there as someone I know that goes up there to buy horsefeed said they had cleaned up the pet area, but that really wasnt the end result I was looking for. I know they had to have had over 20 to 25 guinea pigs up there in seperate tubs that deserve better living conditions, and one was pregnant in the same tub with Gizmo's litter. I cant help but wonder about them up there, but I also really feel I dont want to know their futures that they had, it looks bleak up there. If only I could win the lottery, bought all of them, adopt them to responsible individuals and paid the guy not to have another animal in his store again, I'd do it. People are just so cruel.

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Teresa

Post   » Fri Dec 05, 2003 12:52 am


MEDIA.

But it would pay to do your research first. Call the local Humane Society and ask to speak to their Marketing Director or the person responsible for dealing with the public. Ask that person who in the press is friendly with their animal causes. Be up front on why you are asking. If that doesn't work, try to research the papers to see who sympathetically covers those stories. Be aware, news reporters are looking for news and can EASILY twist your story and turn it against you. Trust me.

Also, here's a BRAZEN tactic I LOVE and it's HIGHLY EFFECTIVE. But you need balls of steel to pull it off. Walk in with a camera. If they will no longer allow you on the premises, you'll have to get an accompliss (can be tough to do). Two approaches. One, if you REALLY want photos, best to have a smaller, but good digital camera. Get photos. The worse the better. Second approach, usually a bit later in the game -- can tactically be AFTER you've TOLD the owner you are going to the press, IF you can still get in the store, walk in with a camera around your neck. Take photos. Tell them to call the police if they have a problem with it. Big story brewing then. Be sure to also tell them you'll also be on your cell phone to the reporter you are working with.

So, I've done all of the above.

It's emotionally draining. BUT, IT WORKS. Sometimes just in the short term, sometimes in the long term. It also helps to have multiple people who are average Joe Schmoe customers walk in and give the same complaints and apply the same pressure. MULTIPLE calls during the same TIME PERIOD by DIFFERENT PEOPLE are really required to kick the HS in the butt and the police and the media.

Definitely get the nearest decent rescue alerted. But we can also only do so much. It just takes a sustained effort by people that care.

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Wheek Times 3

Post   » Fri Dec 05, 2003 12:58 am


If you know of someone with one of those camera phones, that might work really well. I have one and have taken pictures of sick mice at Petco and baby guinea pigs with no food at PetSmart. They never even knew I took the pictures!

I have also taken my camcorder into Petco and taped the animals. No one even cared. The animals looked all healthy and well taken care of, but of course, the sick ones were probably in the back where no one can see. So, maybe someone can go in there with a camcorder and pretend to just want to videotape the cute piggies for their children or something.

I really like the media idea. That helps sometimes when the law fails.

Carter

Post   » Fri Dec 05, 2003 1:02 am


What would it take to make it against the law to sell any animal? From turtles to dogs? Where one would literally have to adopt an animal, and register it and what its used for.

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Margi

Post   » Fri Dec 05, 2003 2:03 am


Our closest pet store is right next to the grocery store. My daughter loves to go in and see the animals. One day last year she went in and saw the piggies. One was lying on the (wire) cage bottom, legs in a weird position and feet very swollen, crying pitifully. She went to the cashier, told her about the piggy, and was told it was fine. My daughter persisted, and they wouldn't even check on the poor baby. They had MY DAUGHTER lift it out of the cage and bring it to the checkout counter, where it tried to drag itself along on what was clearly TWO broken legs. One was a compound fracture (bone sticking out). On follow-up, they claim to have taken it to a vet and that it was recovering at the home of an employee.....but we did notice that they never put a piggy in a wire bottom cage again - one hopes the vet read them the riot act. They put cardboard over the wire bottom and then put in carefresh now. When we were there looking yesterday they didn't have any for sale, but had a boy piggy for adoption. He had pretty crusty eyes and didn't look too healthy to me. My daughter said he felt "squishy", whatever that meant....I won't even buy supplies there anymore (especially since I found out that the next closest store carries Oxbow).

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Serena
It started with Louie...

Post   » Mon Dec 15, 2003 8:45 pm


I have good news! The pet store is finally doing what had I asked my letters, complaints, and threats. I stopped in their today with a co-worker. I told her I didn't want to do this but I had to, I just couldn't drive by. What I saw was a great early Christmas present. The pet store only had one piggie left, a new one. It was housed in a wire bottom cage still but half of the bottom was wood for the little one to take refuge on (its a start.). The cage had fresh water, pellets, HAY!, and a nice shelter. The little piggie looked very content. I picked her up and her nails were trimmed and the pads of her feet were nice and smooth. She was very friendly. I can't believe my letters and complaints finally paid off. Thanks to everyone for your help, too! I will continue to check on this pet store though to make sure they continue to comply and I also wrote an e-mail to our state's humane society about them and I am sure that they will check on this store often too. Thanks again everyone!

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Margi

Post   » Mon Dec 15, 2003 9:14 pm


How wonderful that you apparently made a difference!

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SuzisZoo

Post   » Mon Dec 15, 2003 10:20 pm


That is great news! Good for you for speaking up!!

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mmeadow
Supporter 2004-2017

Post   » Tue Dec 16, 2003 10:44 am


Thank you for doing it it. It's great when courage and persistence pay off!

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