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

Petco Managers Cited For Animal Abuse

Four shop managers cited for animal cruelty; dehydrated pets, dirty conditions found repeatedly at VA. store, authorities say

Tom Jackman, Washington Post Metro, January 31, 1999


Four managers of the Petco store at Bailey's Crossroads have been charged with animal cruelty after Fairfax County animal wardens found dirty conditions and dehydrated animals, including some dead lizards, inside the store authorities said.

Animal Control Department officials visited the store after receiving a complaint in December. "They had some animals that were extremely dehydrated" said Connie Harrington, an Animal Control spokeswoman. "Some lizards were dead, the birds were overcrowded, and the work areas were filthy."

Officer Jennifer Roberts instructed employees to clean the store and provide better care for the animals, but she didn't issue any summonses. But when Roberts returned several days later, the situation hadn't improved, she said, so she filed charges against three store managers and the district manager for failing to adequately care for the animals.

"It is highly unusual" for a pet store to be cited once, much less twice, Harrington said.

Fairfax County officials said John C. Bender, 37, is the district manager of the Bailey's Crossroads Petco. He was cited twice for animal cruelty. Officials at Petco headquarters in San Diego noted that only the employees, not the company, had been charged. "To the best of our knowledge we have never been cited in a case like this," said Don Cowan, a Petco spokesman. "We believe the charges against the employees are unfounded...Our concern has been and continues to be with the animals in our care and for our employees."

The surprise here, of course, is not that a Petco was cited for animal abuse, but that only one has been cited when so many are worthy...

For those of you who have been trying to get local animal authorities to take appropriate action against Petco for the way they keep their reptiles, perhaps printing out a copy of this article and giving it to the agencies in question might help - precedent has now been set.

Just how long can PetCo continue to assert it has no idea that anything other than perfect conditions exist in their stores?

2002 Update: S.F. alleges cruelty at 2 Petcos; Abysmal conditions led to deaths, suit says

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