Little Buddy.

Little Buddy’s Death Is One More Reason That Petco Must Stop Selling Animals



Little Buddy, a one-year-old black-capped conure, died shortly after she was rescued from a Petco in Madison, Alabama. Prior to her death, multiple customers complained to management that she looked very sick.

Little Buddy’s Tragically Short Life and Death

In August, Michele Vice, the head of Our Little Flock bird rescue, received a message on social media asking her to check on a bird at the Madison, Alabama Petco. Immediately upon seeing Little Buddy, Michele knew there was something wrong.

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A post shared by Michele (@our_little_flock_rescue)

Employees told Michele that Little Buddy would be taken to a vet, but not an avian vet. It’s critical that birds be treated by avian vets who have specialized knowledge other vets usually lack. It’s easy to miss signs of illness and disease in birds if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

When Michele returned a few days later, she was told that Little Buddy was healthy. One of the managers even complained that she was “tired of people coming in here and asking me about this bird.”

Worried that Little Buddy was running out of time, Michele took action, bringing her home and then to an avian vet. But only 24 hours later, Little Buddy died.

A necropsy determined Little Buddy “was dehydrated and had a poor body condition score with little body fat,with lesions indicating that this bird had been ill for some time with chronic weight loss.”

Little Buddy necropsy report.

From Bird Mill to Pet Store, Animals Suffer at Every Stage

Just like puppy mills, birds are bred in mills where hundreds or thousands of animals are held in cramped, dirty conditions. It’s expected that some of them will die, it’s just seen as the cost of doing business. Many animals bred in mills arrive at pet stores sick or even dead.

According to the documents that Petco gave to Our Little Flock, Little Buddy was born at Sun Pets, a notorious mill in Atlanta, Georgia where countless animals--from hamsters to guinea pigs to birds--have been tortured and died. Sun Pets has received a litany of Animal Welfare Act violations from the US Department of Agriculture for problems such as lack of veterinary care, ill and dying animals, and failure to provide water. Sun Pets is not an outlier—this is the way the industry operates.

Little Buddy hatch certificate.

We will never know exactly what happened to Little Buddy. But her story isn’t unique. The pet industry views animals as merchandise, no different from a dog bed or leash. We know that Little Buddy was a living, breathing animal who wanted to live, not a “thing” that belongs on a store shelf.

How many birds and other animals have to die before Petco stops selling them? Please send a brief message to Petco asking them to end the sale of animals in its stores.

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