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Buying a Neglected Animal

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Buying a Neglected Animal

Postby Ash » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:38 pm

So... I have ALWAYS said that you shouldn't buy from pet stores that don't treat their animals well, otherwise you're just supporting them. That has always been my stance. So I feel like a hypocrite... I went in to buy frozen rodents at the petstore I usually go to, and I've never been impressed with their standards of care. The man who owns the shop loves animals clearly, but he doesn't know how to take care of them. I personally overlooked these things, because I figured the "housing" situation for these animals is pretty temporary. It's not like they're living in inappropriate housing for years and years. At the most, it's probably a month.

Well, and I'll make a post about her in the reptile forum, let's just say I bought an animal--my first impulse purchase. I'm going back and forth because I just felt like I couldn't leave her there--but then at the same time, I knew I was supporting the store.

It was the tip of the iceberg for me though, so I have decided I am no longer going to give them my business. I've located a really nice local breeder who raises his own rodents who is actually closer who I'll be going to regularly until I get my breeder racks up and going (which, actually shouldn't be long now).

So I guess because I got this neglected animal, I'll make up for it by never returning, when I probably would have continued going back for frozen rodents for the next few weeks.

I've always said: Do NOT buy from these people. But now I've done so, and I don't know. These animals don't deserve to be there, but I know that if they're bought they'll just be replaced the second I leave by another one.

Thoughts? I feel both guilty and good at the same time for doing what I did. But regardless, the gal I bought is here to stay, and I love her.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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Re: Buying a Neglected Animal

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:34 pm

Well, one thing to do would be to cut into profits while trying to educate. In other words, haggle. Point out it looks malnourished or whatever and ask for a big discount. Point out all that's wrong and how it will cost you money to make it healthy so that you should get it at a big discount due to being "damaged goods" then maybe they will learn to care for it right and help themselves not loose money.

As it is you could maybe write them a letter explaining why you will never be coming back and so they will know they lost sales and why.
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Re: Buying a Neglected Animal

Postby Ash » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:05 pm

TamanduaGirl wrote:Well, one thing to do would be to cut into profits while trying to educate. In other words, haggle. Point out it looks malnourished or whatever and ask for a big discount. Point out all that's wrong and how it will cost you money to make it healthy so that you should get it at a big discount due to being "damaged goods" then maybe they will learn to care for it right and help themselves not loose money.

As it is you could maybe write them a letter explaining why you will never be coming back and so they will know they lost sales and why.


That is not a bad idea at all. I think a letter worded very seriously may be a good thing to do and would hopefully make a difference. This petstore owner is a weirdo (nobody denies it, he's just socially-off). But something "official" like a letter might make them rethink their husbandry standards.

They've housed boas and pythons TOGETHER. Housing same species together is bad enough, but boas and balls housed together? That's asking for trouble. I've also never seen one of their ball pythons or boas that wasn't going through a bad shed--indicating humidity is way too low.

The birds at the shop seem to be okay (even though they're on a diet of candy/seeds), as do the pocket pets (rats, bunnies, ferrets etc). So they are not so bad off, and they probably get bought quickly or, in the case of rats, euthanized soon enough. I can't comment on their fish care. I don't know enough about fish.

But their reptile husbandry is inexcusable, and I am not going back again. I'm a very understanding person, so when I saw the chameleon that had drowned, I wasn't horrified. Even the best of the best keepers have those types of things happen. But to see this type of stuff consistently tells you something.

I went to a petshop that's closer to me, but they didn't regularly carry frozen. Even though I wasn't impressed with the shop (it was very teensy and didn't carry much--not sure how it's staying in business, to be honest), I told the owner that I was very happy to see he did not cohabitate his snakes. And the ball pythons all looked really healthy. He even had a nice morph there too. And a gravid bearded dragon that looked very healthy.

I know it's easy to bash on all the petshops, and I never wanted to be that type of person. I understand that the housing is temporary, so I am a bit more forgiving about it, but when I picked up Scarborough Fair and learned that she incurred such wounds at THEIR shop.... I was done. Made me wonder how many ball pythons they lost to rodents that I just didn't know about. And I know now that all their pythons probably have respiratory infections, and most likely their boas do too, since Scarborough Fair was housed with like five of them.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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Re: Buying a Neglected Animal

Postby Nìmwey » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:57 am

You did a good thing for her for sure, but ultimately yes, you gave her abuser money.

It's not easy and I'm not condemning you, but I would simply stay away from bad pet stores to not have to make a difficult decision, or at least (if I have to get some supplies) stay away from looking at their animals.
My main interest is in parrots, dogs, toothed whales and snakes.
Future animals I want to have when we have land are camels, wolfdogs/wolves, coyotes or jackals, striped hyena or aardwolf. Also poultry, rabbits water buffalo and/or yak for livestock.
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Re: Buying a Neglected Animal

Postby Juska » Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:21 pm

I worked at a "pet store" (not PetSmart) for about half a year before tensions came to a head and I was "fired", even though I was completely okay with leaving because the management and ownership was nothing short of appalling. All that aside, I was a kennel maintenance worker and took care of the puppies in our store. Fed them in the morning, cleaned their kennels every day, disinfected their toys and gave each one two or three to play with for the day, made sure everyone was healthy, administered medicine to any puppies that were sick (which were taken off the sale list and kept in a quarantined area in the back, until they were given a clean bill of health from our vet), gave baths, clipped nails, etc. Made sure they were happy and healthy. We even played classical music CDs made for puppies to listen to. I did everything I could despite terrible management to keep them happy.

We had other animals too, hamsters/mice/ferrets/rats (very rare occasion we had rats and no rodent we had was ever sold as a feeder), a handful of reptiles like frogs and small snakes, maybe 4-5 kittens at a time, fish and parakeets. It was a small store inside of a mall. I actually got all three of my rats from that store. I got Scorpio for free because they had taken in a litter of four baby rats from a breeder, three girls and a boy, and didn't really have space for them when they got older, so they were basically free to a good home.

They were all of differing origin so I couldn't tell you where they actually came from, though we did have a few of our "regular" breeders send photos, like taken on film and processed, of their facilities so people could look and see what their setup was. Sometimes they'd send along photos of a puppy being raised in their home with them when they arrived at the store. The one lady had a cot set up in her whelping room so she could be with them at all times. I did not have access to any information that would have straight up told me if the facility was a puppy mill breeding operation, or a hobby breeder, or a registered breeder. You can get "papers" for just about any dog, so that never really proved anything. But many of them did come with registered parent history. Anyway.

The store I worked in wasn't a horrible, nasty, filthy one like you stumble upon sometimes, but it was still a "pet store" and just isn't really a great place for the larger animals to be in the first place. I'd rather people didn't buy puppies and kittens from them, but I'm not losing sleep over it if the people who run the place at least care about their animals' welfare and do what they must to keep them in prime health.

Unless there is a mass-scale effort put into boycotting this sort of business as I described above, it will continue even if a few kindhearted people "save" an animal from a bad situation in a pet store. I don't look down on people who have done this, and I don't think you should feel bad about it.

The people who should feel bad about it are the people who think the only way to get a puppy is at a pet store (usually because they think breeders are too expensive) and don't care about health checks or matching a breed to fit their lifestyle. They usually get the "cheapest" puppy there regardless of what it is. They just want an animal for a cheap price and don't really care about the animal's welfare. I've met these people, I know the type well. We would refuse a sale to anyone who came in and immediately asked something like "Which of these is the cheapest? I don't want to spend like $400 on just a dog. My kid's birthday/Christmas/whatever is coming up and they want a puppy. Oh, and can you hold it here until that day, I want it to be a complete surprise. Do you take checks?"

So yeah. That's my stance on it. Sorry that was mostly about puppies, but it can be applied to many pets in the trade who are sold in pet stores.
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Re: Buying a Neglected Animal

Postby Ana » Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:56 pm

It's something I've struggled with many times, and finally came to the conclusion that the life and
well being of the particular animal who is in that situation, experiencing the crisis, that individual
is entitled to intervention on their behalf. 'Bailing them out' is appropriate, provided that you contact
not the manager of the store, but the General Manager who oversees the branch. You can let them
know that it's something you've seen there again and again, and you aren't comfortable there, because
of it. You can also mention that you were considering writing up a negative review of the store online,
but you decided to first give them the opportunity to rectify the situation.

I've done this on three occasions, and each time the issue has been very quickly resolved. When they
tried to offer me coupons, gift cards, discounts, I've asked them to put that money toward enrichment
items for their tanks, which they actually did in at least once instance!

So definitely pursue it, let them know how you feel. The GM cares. They don't want negative stuff
online, and will absolutely take action.

Congrats on your new bubby! :D
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Re: Buying a Neglected Animal

Postby Ash » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:23 pm

Well, to be fair, their mammal section and bird section seem okay (other than the diet they give the birds). I don't know about fish, so can't comment on that.

But the reptiles just are not doing well there. I wouldn't say they are ALL being neglected, it's more that their basic husbandry is not what it should be (which probably is some form of neglect though). Pretty much every ball python and boa there has flaky sheds and respiratory infections. Most times, cages aren't clean, but I don't fault them for that (it's not like you know exactly when an animal is "gonna go," so for all I know, it could have left a pile the moment I got there).

There have been a few animals there that really upset me. But even though I always wanted to "buy" them, I never did because I didn't want to support the store. It really was just this female ball python that just pushed me. I don't know if you guys have seen the pictures of her in the reptile forum, but she has horrible scars... She's like the classic example of why you don't leave snakes unattended with live feeders--because they get eaten.

But like TG said, I am going to send a "professional" letter to the shop and tell them why I will no longer be showing up there anymore. I will tell them that they need to improve their reptile husbandry--that I don't want to find drowned chameleons, snakes cohabitating, sick or scarred animals there. And then tell them if they can reassure me of this, they may have me back as a customer. But until then, I will spread the word that the shop is not reputable.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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Re: Buying a Neglected Animal

Postby Juska » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:51 am

I'm know your penmanship is excellent, but if you'd like an editor or proofreader to look it over I'd gladly help, if you'd like.
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Re: Buying a Neglected Animal

Postby Ash » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:48 pm

Juska wrote:I'm know your penmanship is excellent, but if you'd like an editor or proofreader to look it over I'd gladly help, if you'd like.


Thank-you, Juska. :) I will probably take you up on the offer. I'm one of those people who appreciates grammar nazis, lol.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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Re: Buying a Neglected Animal

Postby Ash » Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:10 am

Well, I actually wound up going back to the store after my snake started to experience horrible symptoms pointing to fatal diseases. I demanded a refund, telling him it would go straight to the vet bills since he sold me a sick snake. I'm usually a timid person, but not this time... I stood my ground the whole time and argued for 30+ minutes, believe it or not. He lied about stuff, went on about stuff that stupid and he couldn't prove. But I was calm and told him everything he was doing wrong with his ball pythons and boas. I could go on and on about that conversation... replaying it in my head, I wish I could have recorded it to watch myself being so "brave" and "firm." But it also gives me a headache. I could have had my phone recording the audio at least, lol... but didn't think about that.

He was furious by the end but then gave me back the $50... So I guess in that sense I "never" bought the snakes AND he lost me as a customer forever. It's like he gave her to me for free and now I'm here paying her vet bills. So I guess in that sense, I could consider her a rescue if I wanted to. Though that term is too-often misused, so it bugs me to use it.

So no letter will be sent now. I said everything I wanted to in person with the owner.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas

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