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A rant about pet shops

(21 Posts)
Gay40 Thu 13-Sep-12 21:37:03

Please excuse the ranting and raving, I'm sure there are some good pet shops etc etc but I'm still cross about the one I went into a few days ago.

I have 3 small rabbits which I adore and consider well-cared for: huge hutch, outside pen, good quality hay, toys, fresh grass and water every day, good quality niblets and the like. I had to go to a local pet shop (not a chain) to pick up more straw which was stored in the rabbit section.

There were several cages with 2 rabbits in each, most looked bored and miserable. They had water and food but the minimum of toys and hardly any human interaction. What made it worse was one of the rabbits looked identical to one of mine. Why are pet shops allowed to keep animals like this? I know if I called the RSPCA they would check and find that the bare minimum is being provided, and it is, but I just don't think it's good enough.

Rabbits die of boredom and lack of sunlight and stimulation. After distressing myself I left as quickly as possible and sat in the car for ages pondering what to do. I still don't really know what to do as I haven't the space for any more.

frazzledbutcalm Fri 14-Sep-12 09:53:12

You'll probably find the rabbits will be sold within a matter of days. My husbands family has a pet shop and keep rabbits, as well as other pets. Their rabbits are never in the shop more than 3 days! They sell like hot cakes!
I think you're over-reacting and getting too emotional over a problem that isn't really there sad ...Also, you have no idea how often staff will talk, stroke, cuddle these rabbits etc ... You cannot know how much human interaction they get as you don't work in the shop and presumably don't stand outside it 24/7 ..

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 14-Sep-12 12:08:42

My DD and I sometimes have a look in Petshops and one has 2 little (well not so little now) GPs. They've had them the last 3 times we've been in there (so well over a month)
Trouble is, they won't sell as they get older.
They are £40 each shock
They will become more and more 'institutionalised' the longer they are in a (very small) cage.

If Pet Shops sell animals, they should do it properly or not at all.
So many times I've been in a sjop and they have one or two GPs.

Or the Pets@Home that will have maybe 8 per cage.
And you know that as soon as the new batch comes along the 'oldies' will be booted round to the Adoption Area with a "We got too big to sell" sign.

We saw 4 boars in the rehoming. sad because what is their fate?

KRITIQ Fri 14-Sep-12 21:45:14

Op, I'm with you and 70 on this one. While it might be nice to think they only spend a few hours in cramped conditions before going to wonderful homes, that's pretty unlikely. I don't think it's a particularly "good" thing if they sell like hotcakes, either. Far too many small furries are bought on a whim and end up in the small animal shelter near me, often with illnesses or injuries resulting from mistreatment or neglect.

Had a very nasty experience once when I very tactfully asked the manager of a shop whether it would be better to house rabbits and guineas separately and no more than got the phrase "RSPCA guidelines," out before I was virtually thrown out of the shop.

Sadly though, the minimum standards for small furries set by RSPCA are very, very minimum and unless that changes, pet shops won't change, now will the people who buy them on a whim without the knowledge, equipment or money to look after them properly.

Never spending a penny in a shop that sells livestock at least means you aren't contributing to their profits. I wish there were much more that could be done. gets off soapbox before stomping a hole in it.

BonkeyMollocks Fri 14-Sep-12 22:51:29

Its bloody awful!

And tbh its shit either way, with a very small number getting a good home at the end imo.

Too many people buy animals because 'they are cute' and don't take into consideration the care that they actually need, along with the cost. they get taken home, novelty wears off and thats it!

Rabbits especially get a tough deal imo because they rarely turn out to be the friendly/cuddly animal they are marketed to be. They need alot more time/money/space/care than people realise.

I had two Rabbits who were shits. I tried my damned hardest to tame them but it just wasn't happening. In the end (I am ashamed to say) they were not particularly loved or liked that much but they had a good life and were cared for be it begrudgingly on a fecking ice cold winter night. They had a large shed to run in, fresh food and water daily, a clean bed, and each other. They were happy.
They were sold to us as a brilliant family pet, who will adore cuddles hmm .

My Big Pig was sold as a lone boar. I was told by the petshop (despite reading advice everywhere that they need company) that he would be fine alone. When I went back to say I thought he was scared and depressed she said 'take his hideys away and it will force him into being more sociable' hmm . I complained but sadley they are still selling boars as single pigs. I nearly bought one poor bugger home because he looked so sad, but dh doesn't like the two we have and would probably have murdered me. He is gone now but I dread to think where sad He was such a sweetheart too.
I learnt my lesson with Big Pig but I am so glad he is with me and not some fucker who would just shove him at the end of the garden to shiver all the way through winter alone. sad

I avoid this petshop now like the plague!

But on the other hand the petshop I now go to for supplies are fab. Rabbits and Pigs have a big indoor pen about 5' by 4' each. Even split in half (which they sometimes do for pigs) is still a good size. the staff have always got something out for a play or a cuddle. they get their stock from good breeders, and questions everyone who buys anything from them and give good correct advice about care and cages.
I got refused gerbils in there once because she didn't think they were right for us, she suggested Gpigs. grin I was a bit miffed but I though about it and she was right. I got pigs in the end! smile

sleepingbunnies Fri 14-Sep-12 23:05:41

Its very sad fact that many people buy animals without thinking it through and think "ah, thats cute" but when the hard work needs to be done they cant be bothered...

Makes me so angry!

Gay40 Fri 14-Sep-12 23:26:49

I won't be going back to that place. I've already told DP I'd rather drive for miles to a decent place.

glamourcats Sun 16-Sep-12 00:15:44

I work in a petshop. I spent three years at college studying animal care, as did all the other members of staff in the shop. We never sell animals to customers who decide to purchase them on impulse. All our animals have to be reserved for 24 hours to give people a chance to really consider what they are taking on.
We never sell or keep guinea pigs on their own
We never advise that rabbits make good family pets for young children and try to steer anybody with children under seven away from taking on a rabbit.
We spend on average at least an hour with each customer purchasing an animal going through the animals needs and requirements to make sure that the pet they are choosing is the right one for them.
Yes our animals are kept in smaller cages then they will be permenantly housed when they find their forever homes but our animals are only ever with us for a maximum of a week, and also with yound animals it is often better for them to be housed in a smaller enclosure where they feel secure,and it is easier to handle them, rather than being placed in a large run, exposed to all and sundry, where they would need to be 'caught' to be handled.
In all my years of retail I have never experienced such abuse from customers than I have working in the petshop. People think they can just pick a hamster off the shelf like a loaf of bread, when in reality i turn down more people then I sell animals too. We spend our day shovelling shit for minimum wage so I can assure you we only do this for the love of animals.

Gay40 Sun 16-Sep-12 12:10:29

I didn't tar all pet shops with the same brush, but I hear what you are saying.

It took us almost a year to decide on our rabbits and we were under no illusion about DD's committment to their care - we knew that their cleaning, care and cost were our responsibility alone, and that's what took the time deciding. Plus I insisted on them having a lovely big living space etc, and saying goodbye to our garden space (don't regret any of it)

Gay40 Sun 16-Sep-12 12:11:35

People don't seem to realise these are living animals with feelings and emotions - not the same as human emotions but they aren't toys to be recycled when you get bored.

rogersmellyonthetelly Sun 16-Sep-12 22:08:49

Its shit isn't it. It makes my blood boil when I see pissy little 2ftx 18inch cages being sold as suitable for rabbits, and when they tell you you can't keep 2 together.
I rescued my Fave bunny from pets at home. a full grown dutch male being kept in one of their hamster cages, he could barely turn around. He was 6 months old, they had had to remove him from the baby pen at 4 months as he was too big and dominant. Once he finally got over his problems with open spaces he was the most affectionate cuddly mother hen bunnies I've ever known. He got on with every other rabbit I had with no problems, never fought anyone and was my favourite knee warmer until he died.

Gay40 Sun 16-Sep-12 23:46:46

I've just been out in the driving rain in full waterproofs seeing to hay, straw, water and the rest, while thinking about this thread and planning for their winter living arrangements.
Those little pet shop bunnies are still on my mind sad

glamourcats Mon 17-Sep-12 10:02:43

A rabbit kept in an actual hamster cage? hmm

You do know that the RSPCA and local authorities for the area carry out random, unannouced spot checks for all premises licenced as pet shops. Some pet shops may kept rabbits in cages that are deemed on the small side but I am having serious problems with believing that any pet shop with a licence would keep a rabbit, in full view of the general public, in an actual hamster cage

glamourcats Mon 17-Sep-12 10:23:18

And I would just like to point out that I am no way in support of any petshop that gives the wrong advice, keeps animals in cramped dirty conditions, and where the animals in their care looked stressed and miserable etc, but I am against the sweeping generalisation that all petshops are bad, and the over exaggerated tales of cruelty.

glamourcats Mon 17-Sep-12 10:56:14

Oh and finally, after re-reading the op I have a few points to make about the rabbits the op saw.

You say the rabbits look bored and miserable but how can you actually be sure they were? Were the rabbits growling or chattering their teeth? Were they pulling out their fur or chewing constantly on the bars of the cage. Were their ears laid down flat against their skull? These are signs of stress in rabbits. Simply sitting or lying still in the cage does not indicate a 'bored or stressed' rabbit. Rabbits are crepuscular and are most active at dawn or twilight. People don't see this petshops are not open at this time.

Regarding human interaction. When our rabbits come in they are usually about 10 - 12 weeks old depending on the breed. Obviously this is a big change for the baby rabbits so for the first two days the rabbits are left alone in their runs so that they can get used to their new environment. Too much handling at this stage would severely stress the rabbit out. We also advise our customers not to handle their rabbits for 48 hours so they can settle in. So maybe these rabbits the op saw were new in to the petshops.

People are putting human emotions on to animals and this is wrong. Please look up anthropomorphism - there are many studies into this.

Baby rabbits do not want lots of handling, being messed about by humans and strange-smelling plasticy toys. They want food, hay, to feel secure and the company of other rabbits. They are young. They are babies. They do not know what humans are, or what plastic jinglebell balls and other rabbit toys are. Being handle, building up human interactions, playing with commercial toys etc is something that needs to be built up slowly.

rogersmellyonthetelly Mon 17-Sep-12 18:30:17

Yes it was a hamster cage. We actually got him for £5 instead of £40 as they wanted rid. Their loss! Rip Hoochie-bun I still miss you!

Gay40 Tue 18-Sep-12 08:43:25

The rabbits I saw have been there at least 6 weeks because DP went in there and described them when she got back - and one was identical to our boy rabbit.

Empusa Tue 18-Sep-12 08:54:47

glamourcats Your petshop sounds great, however many aren't sad

We went into one where they had rats. One of the rats had a badly broken leg, you could see the bone, and the pet shop knew about it and did nothing - except have a sign up saying it was half price sad

Nearly cried after seeing that. We did call the RSPCA, but no idea if anything happened.

Most pet shops I've been in have had animals in cages/tanks that are far too small for them.

It's far too common to see 8-10 rats in a tiny cage with no toys. And of course they are almost never handled. They are also usually kept in bedding that is bad for them, and that causes scarring on their lungs.

Empusa Tue 18-Sep-12 09:05:46

Oh, just heard that Watchdog will be investigating one of the UK's largest chain of pet stores tomorrow at 8pm

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 20-Sep-12 19:06:06

P@H was guinea-pigless yesterday.
But they were probably preparing for a new delivery sad

I've reported piglets with eyes closed
"Oh, maybe he's tired/sleepy" I was told.

No, I've had GPs for years. They don't sleep with an eye gummed shut. That's an infection. hmm

And they use flipping woodshavings <<sigh>> even if they do clean them every day, it's still not recommended in any GP site.

AnotherLoad Tue 02-Oct-12 20:48:58

I ended up taking home 2 hamsters that were unsold at 2yrs+! spent there lives in a small cage, at the back of the shop floor. maybe some shops that say they dont have animals in the cages for too long - but imo theres too many that do.

A hamster in another shop was put into a plastic lizard box because it was 3mths old and 'too old to sell'. was placed on the same shelf as the baby hamsters. i asked why its in there they said it hasnt sold, so they gave it too me when i said i rescue hamsters! what if i didnt go in there? it would have spent how long in there? where they stock cages?

I asked one pet shop why they dont have any wheels or flying saucers in there rodents cages. the reply was 'we dont'!!! confused why not? you sell the bloody things! you have a shop full?

then to piss me off even more they have labels on cages saying suitable for rat,hamster, degu, chinchilla etc..... when it just far to small! especially the tiny hamster cages with silly wheels, where they have to arch their backs to use.

...rabbit cages more suitable for guinea pigs - advertised with 'suitable for rabbits' so people who dont want to spend money to house these pets properly take the smallest ''SUITABLE'' cage!!!!

the starter kits! everything inside all you need is animal....useless! shouldnt be sold. this lures families with young children to buy 'conveinent cage & pet' for the child to then loose interest and the pet spends how ever long remained in a small cage until its advertised on gumtree or elswhere - with cage...still too small....to someone else.

I better stop here cos i will rant on. but op i get you! grin

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