Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

Minnesota Herp Society and Petco

July 12, 1997 Press Release

Press Release


Contact: George W. Richard
Minnesota Herpetological Society
Bell Museum of Natural History
10 Church St, SE
Minneapolis MN 55455-0104

On Saturday July 12, 1997 at approximately 1:30 p.m., members of the Minnesota Herpetological Society attempted to return unwanted Iguanas at the Petco store at 753 53rd Ave NE, Fridley, Minnesota. Petco was celebrating their grand opening and the acquisition of several Pet Food Warehouse stores by selling Iguana's for $9.99. They were met by Don Cowan Director, Communications of Petco. After an animated discussion It was agreed Petco would provide temporary housing for one Iguana at their Central Avenue store and discussions would continue regarding housing and adoption options for the remaining Iguana's

The MHS took this action with the hope of accomplishing two goals.

  1. Convince Petco and the other major pet retailers to discontinue Iguana sales in Minnesota and hopefully the Northern U.S.. Over 750,000 Iguana's were imported into the U.S. last year. The majority of them were abandoned or died due to a host of conditions related both to their low cost and their inability to survive in this climate. Petco has made a great effort to help alleviate the pet overpopulation problem among cats and dogs through their adoption programs with local shelters. They also discontinued rabbit sales in California due to adverse conditions for the animals. Pet Food Warehouse, the company Petco is "replacing" , had adopted a no Iguana Sale policy. We want Petco to reinstate this policy. By their positive actions Petco has taken on the mantle of a "Good Corporate Citizen" we hope their actions regarding the sales and distribution of reptiles will uphold that image.

  2. Educate the public as to the suitability of Iguana's and other reptiles and amphibians as pets. We want to promote responsible pet ownership, care and husbandry and avoid the needless suffering and death caused by ignorance. With large numbers of reptiles, amphibians and "exotic" pets increasing yearly it is imperative that the public and potential owners be aware of the level of care and commitment required by these animals.

This return was covered by KSTP and it was reported on their 5, 6 and 10 p.m. broadcasts, unfortunately, with the inaccurate statement that Petco had accepted the iguanas. As of today Petco has placed only the one, original Iguana on display. They have not yet placed any other Iguanas on display and have suggested the MHS plan, staff and operate an "Iguana Adoption Day" at Petco, which they will advertise. The full text of the letter sent to Petco, the signage the MHS has suggested for the Adoption Iguana Cage and the items Petco used to set up the Central Avenue iguana cage are available. We will continue negotiations and keep you informed.

George W. Richard
Minnesota Herpetological Society

Based on the continuing problems with PetCo and PetsMart, discussions are underway to stage a nation-wide "Iguana Return Day." Please contact George Richard for additional information.

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