Chain Pet Stores And Why I Hope They Go Out Of Business
My fiance, and by extension, myself, bought an absolutely gorgeous baby ball python on the Fourth of July, from PetSmart. We called her Nagini. She was very sweet-natured and friendly, and we loved her very much.
But about a month ago, she simply stopped eating. We thought it was because she was getting ready to shed her skin. But a month went by, and she didn’t eat a thing, and she was skinny and sluggish. We tried to feed her, but she no longer recognized the live food we brought her. She didn’t understand that the food she was accustomed to was even food.
On Monday, we took her to a local reptile store to see if they could tell us what was wrong. At this point, she couldn’t differentiate being on her back from being on her belly, she was stargazing (waving her head rapidly back and forth without being able to focus), and she no longer made much effort to smell her surroundings like she used to. The vet there told us we could try force-feeding her, but it wasn’t going to really help; she had MAYBE two days to live. So we had to put our baby to sleep.
Which brings me to my point. Stores like PetSmart employ people with little to no experience as to how to care for these animals, and they never bother to properly train these people because they don’t want to have to spend the money to do so.
In addition, they do not take the proper steps to make sure that their animals are healthy. They simply receive a shipment of snakes or lizards, fish or birds, and plop them into the pathetically small tanks and cages on the sales floor, without regard as to how much space these animals need to thrive, and without giving them a proper veterinary check-up. They do not quarantine them to make sure they’re ready to be put out for adoption. And when you buy a pet, it IS adoption; you’re bringing home a new and lovable member of the family. These stores don’t make sure the animals are healthy and happy; they see them as no different than the sacks of dog food and squeaky toys they sell. They simply don’t care.
We had never owned a reptile of any kind before. We took the salesperson’s word that he “owned snakes” and “knew” how to care for them, and we ended up receiving a ton of misinformation from this person. And even with our additional internet research, little Nagini didn’t make it, and I’m furious.
Be an educated pet owner. If you choose to adopt a pet from one of these stores (because, yes, these animals deserve love, too), TAKE THEM TO THE VET. Give them a full check up. And for God’s sake, DO YOUR RESEARCH. NEVER take the word of any employee of any chain store as to how to care for your pet. Go to an expert; go to a reptile store; go to a breeder. KNOW how to care for your pet, and KNOW where you’re getting your care information from. These idiots at PetSmart couldn’t even tell us what GENDER she was; we found out at, literally, the last minute. ASK THE ADVICE OF SOMEONE WHO HAS TRUE AND LICENSED EXPERIENCE WITH ANIMALS.
What terrifies me is that our little one was only ONE of the MILLIONS of little animals that thoughtless “pet stores” like this buy and sell and disregard and abuse every day. I genuinely and sincerely hope that these places lose their licenses that allow them to sell animals, from goldfish to baby pythons and EVERYTHING in between. I hope they go out of business.
And I wish I didn’t have to rely on them for dog food for my Labrador, or food for my Betta fish. But until another store opens that operates with a desire to take real care of the animals they market and the pet owners they market to, I am stuck.
Sure, maybe SOME of these stores aren’t like that. Maybe some of their employees do care. But until I come across a store like that, my feelings WILL NOT CHANGE. And I can guarantee you, I will NEVER, NEVER adopt a reptile from them again.