Dear Pets Unlimited,
I want to shop in your store. I do. You have great selection, you are a regional chain, and you are located in a very convenient place for my car-less self. What’s more, you are cheap. Your prices are a great motivator for a pet-lover on a budget. That’s why it really pains me to have to write this letter. I want to shop there, but I can’t for one reason that makes all the others utterly insignificant:
You sell dogs and cats.
Not just dogs and cats but puppies and kittens.
This is something I can no longer abide. I will pay higher prices and give my money to a giant block store rather than support your business one more time. Yes, you have the cute little PJ’s Pets cash back card that I have long since thrown away. Yes, I have read all about your puppy standards. I know you have made a PuppiesFIRST promise. You have written a pdf document outlining your criteria for breeders. You posted videos, interviews, and you say you “strive to conduct your activities in a responsible manner” according to the recommendations of PIJAC Canada. I am fully aware of all of this. But I still won’t shop in your stores.
Frankly, I don’t care if you get your puppies and kittens from the very best, kindest, smartest, most responsible breeders in the world. (Though I am pretty skeptical of your claims. If your breeders were so awesome, why don’t they publish their names? A responsible breeder is proud of her dogs and wants to show them off.) That’s not going to help your cause. Your cause, in my opinion, is inherently flawed. And here is why:
I won’t shop in any store, no matter how big or small, that sells dogs and cats. I am also leery on shopping anywhere that sells guinea pigs or rabbits or geckos. Your stores sell these animals, and many others. Before these animals find homes, they are kept in small cages, taken care of by inexperienced staff, and left alone for long periods of time. The kittens are kept all together in a small cage in the middle of the puppy section. They are constantly being poked by customers and their children. I have never once seen any of them move from their hiding places. Probably because they are all terrified. And the dogs? The dogs are another story.
The one store I have been to has a lot of dogs for sale. From what I recall, there are at least eight cages, many have multiple puppies inside. Over a year ago I remember seeing an adorable boxer puppy. He was so cute and playful, I wanted to take him home right away. Though being priced at $1,200.00 I don’t know many people who could afford him. A month or so passed and I was unfortunate enough to find myself in your store again. The boxer puppy was still there. He was larger now, much less playful. He gazed glassily out at the people. He knew he wasn’t going anywhere.
According to your staff and your website, every puppy you sell finds a home. That’s what you say. Every single one. But what about this boxer? What about puppies that grow older and become less cute. What about puppies that are too tired and cranky to play nice with prospective buyers? Your website is much less specific. This is what it says:
What exactly does this mean? What if you still can’t find anyone amongst your employees? Given most of them are teenagers I am sure this happens frequently. What then?