PetSmart® Promotes Adopting Cats and Dogs Yet Sell Snakes. Why?



Did you know that PetSmart decided not to sell cats and dogs because it recognized that too many companion animals were homeless and euthanized every year?

But by selling reptiles and amphibians, PetSmart is dooming them to the same fate.  

PetSmart made the important decision to not sell cats and dogs in its stores to help address the pet overpopulation problem. Instead, it made the humane decision to donate space inside its stores for local shelters to display companion animals that were up for adoption. But while PetSmart promotes the adoption of cats and dogs, it continues to sell other animals, like reptiles and amphibians, thus supporting the cruel wildlife trade, and causing severe suffering. 

Pictured: A bearded dragon display at PetSmart labelled as a beginner pet.

Pictured: A bearded dragon display at PetSmart labeled as a beginner pet.

By selling reptiles and amphibians in its stores, PetSmart is supporting the capture, breeding, and trade of these wild animals. The wildlife trade causes tremendous suffering because these wild animals are not adapted to a life in captivity.  

There has also been an increase in news reports of exotic animals, in particular snakes, being released into communities. The increase in invasive species happens when owners realize they cannot care for these wild animals and release them into an ecosystem not designed to support them. 

While owners are well-intentioned and love their animals, the reality is that keeping exotic animals is difficult; these animals are expensive to look after and require highly specific care which cannot be fully met in a home setting. PetSmart markets most of its reptiles and amphibians as “easy” and “a good choice even for beginners” ignoring the fact that these animals are sentient, can feel pain, and need to be able to engage in a natural range of behaviors and activities to remain healthy and experience a good quality of life. 

Placing an unstainable burden on animal shelters 

The growing popularity of exotic pets is associated with increasing issues of wild animal abandonment, escape, and neglect. Shelters have reported that more people are inquiring about surrendering their exotic animals The result is an unsustainable burden on animal shelters and rescue groups have to deal with this problem with insufficient resources and limited capacity.  

PetSmart’s hypocrisy cannot be ignored 

According to its Code of Ethics & Integrity, PetSmart is devoted to helping pets live their healthiest, happiest lives, and that the best interest of the animals is central to every decision it makes. This might be true for cats and dogs, but what about the other animals? Currently, PetSmart is not living up to its own values. PetSmart supports the cruel wildlife trade which causes unimaginable suffering and results in shelters being overburdened.  

PetSmart can be part of the solution. It has an opportunity to be a hero for all animals – domesticated and wild. Tell PetSmart to care about all animals and to stop the sale of reptiles and amphibians in its stores. 

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