does petco take unwanted birds

Take Action: Urge Petco to Stop Selling All Live Animals!

Petco and other big-box retailers still sell animals in spite of the pain and systematic cruelty that are part of the pet trade. When exotic animals aren’t kidnapped from their natural habitats, they’re raised in captivity under standard “mill” conditions, as PETA’s undercover investigations have repeatedly shown. These investigations include the following:

  • Global Captive Breeders: In Lake Elsinore, California, this company raised and sold rats and reptiles. An undercover PETA investigator worked there. The investigator found evidence that thousands of animals, many of them fatally, were neglected by staff members, including a manager, and innumerable others were brutally killed.
  • Holmes Farm: Petco (and PetSmart) received hamsters and other small animals from this enormous animal dealer. The chain continued to order and receive animals by the hundreds from the dealer even after Petco representatives visited the farm, where animals were kept in plastic bins, frozen alive, and crudely gassed to death.
  • During an investigation by PETA into Rainbow World Exotics, a Texas-based animal supplier that provided hamsters, gerbils, and other small animals to Petco (and PetSmart) stores, it was discovered that a worker had castrated rabbits and bleached their wounds, a manager had stomped hamsters to death, live animals had been thrown in the trash, a cockatoo was starving to death, and other similar incidents had occurred.
  • Sun Pet: Among other retailers around the United States, this wholesale animal dealer supplies animals to many Petco (and PetSmart) stores. A PETA investigator went undercover there. S. A worker attempted to kill live hamsters by putting them in a bag and hitting it against a table; moments later, one of the animals was observed to be in pain and breathing heavily.
  • U. S. Global Exotics: PETA’s investigation at this Texas-based international exotic-animal wholesale facility showed that many exotic animals, including frogs, gerbils, chinchillas, ferrets, snakes, lizards, turtles, and tortoises, were shipped by U.S. S. Global Exotics suffered greatly from constant, cruel confinement to extremely crowded and filthy enclosures, and this suffering extended to other dealers, including dealers that supplied Petco (and PetSmart).

Adoption organizations specializing in exotic animals such as birds, small mammals, reptiles, and others are finding it difficult to handle the large number of unwanted and discarded animals that require homes. Reputable bird sanctuaries are overrun. Petco has no justification whatsoever for selling any animals.

The best way to end animal suffering in the pet trade is to never purchase anything from establishments that deal in living, breathing creatures, not even a bag of treats. PetFlow is one of the many online retailers and stores that sell supplies for companion animals. com, Target, and Wag. com—that don’t condemn animals to miserable lives and painful deaths. Urge Petco to stop selling all animals below!.

Urge Petco to Stop Selling Birds, Reptiles, Fish, and Others

Fish, birds, reptiles, and other small animals are treated like inanimate objects at Petco. They travel for hours or even days from suppliers who are known to be cruel, such as breeding and distribution facilities, and a large number of the animals are wild-caught. The animals wind up in tiny tanks and claustrophobic cages, unable to behave in a way that would be natural to them, and frequently without even the most basic necessities for survival. Petco sells animals to anyone with a credit card. Selling sentient animals for food, treats, or leashes as though they were inanimate objects is cruel, and it has to stop.

When birds are kept in homes as “pets” or caged all day as exotic decorations, they are denied everything that is natural and important to them. Birds are complex, sensitive individuals. Studies on bird-breeding establishments have revealed extreme overcrowding, squalor, and disregard. Captive-bred birds are not “domesticated”; rather, they are still exotic animals. They cannot have their wild impulses and needs satisfied in captivity, so they will always have them.

Driven insane by loneliness and their incapacity to engage in natural behaviors like flying (some can reach speeds of up to thirty miles per day at thirty miles per hour), captive birds frequently suffer in ways that are invisible to humans—they may pluck out their own feathers, mutilate their skin, pace, peck at the bars of their cage repeatedly, shake, or even pass out from fear.

The deplorable circumstances for birds were detailed by a former Petco employee. Among the birds was a parakeet that was killed by its anxious cagemates, revealing its cranium.

Additionally complicated and delicate creatures, reptiles need particular attention. It is estimated that 27.5 percent of captive reptiles pass away within the first year of being in a person’s care. However, Petco markets them as lifeless goods to ill-prepared consumers who make impulsive purchases without fully understanding their particular requirements for space, humidity, heat, lighting, and other factors. When snakes are displayed for sale as “pets,” they are usually kept in glass tanks that are far too small. The tanks prevent them from even stretching to their full potential, which experts say is crucial for their health and wellbeing.

According to a whistleblower, at one Petco store in just one week, respiratory tract infections claimed the lives of two iguanas and a chameleon, and an unwell green tree python only fed once in almost two months before passing away. According to PETA investigations, companies that sell and transport reptiles engage in widespread abuse and neglect. Examples of this include keeping the animals in shoebox-sized plastic bins for months, years, or even their whole lives, depriving them of basic needs.

At Petco stores around the country, betta fish are confined to tiny plastic cups containing scarcely a couple of inches of water and stacked on top of one another. A PETA video exposé based on visits to more than 100 stores revealed dead and dying fish floating in cups of contaminated water, and many were left to suffer from painful or debilitating health conditions such as fin rot and swim bladder disorders.

Thailand, one of the biggest exporters of ornamental fish worldwide, is home to ten betta fish breeding and packing facilities that a PETA Asia eyewitness visited in 2019. Tens of thousands of betta fish kept in tiny bottles—many with dirty, contaminated water—are seen in eyewitness footage before they are sorted and sent to be sold at pet shops across the globe. Every breeding factory we visited had dead fish, including two that supplied Petco. Numerous fish perish both before and during the days-long journey to retailers.

Small mammals fare no better. PETA’s investigation into Petco supplier Holmes Farm in Pennsylvania revealed that workers left live animals in plastic bins with dead and decomposing bodies, tossed animals into freezers to die, and crammed screaming rats, gerbils, guinea pigs, and rabbits into a cooler used as a makeshift “gas chamber” and poisoned them with gas. A former employee of another Petco store recounted seeing sick and injured mice daily. When she showed a suffering mouse to her supervisor, she was told not to worry about it because the animal was “just a feeder mouse

A damning August 2021 federal inspection report revealed that dead hamsters’ partially eaten bodies were found in nearly two dozen enclosures at another Petco supplier, Atlanta-based Sun Pet Ltd., and that one hamster had been eaten alive. The report detailed systemic neglect affecting hundreds—if not far more—of the nearly 13,000 animals on-site. Gerbils had been denied access to water for so long that they drank “voraciously” when finally given some, hamsters were kept in cracked enclosures, “green fuzz” was found on spilled food, and boxes in which hamsters were confined were stacked precariously, “swaying … in the breeze.” Other animals suffered from untreated eye problems, labored breathing, and hair and weight loss. A previous PETA investigation into Sun Pet revealed that a worker had bashed live hamsters against a table and that other acts of abuse were committed. In response to the new report, PETA sent a letter to Petco CEO and Chair Ron Coughlin urging him to reconsider his company’s relationship with Sun Pet and to stop selling live animals altogether.


What does Petco do with unadopted pets?

Petco and PetSmart are not in the business of adopting pets. They provide a location for local no-kill shelters to set up and adopt pets. So un-adopted pets simply go back to the shelters and foster homes at the end of the day where they were before they were “displayed” at Petco and PetSmart.

What does Petco do with unsold animals?

At Petco, we mark them down by 25% every three months or so. So a hamster that stays for three months is 25% off, six months is 50%, nine is 75%. If they’re there for a year we either give them to a different Petco, mark them down to about $1 or even put them up for free. Or, one of the employees takes them home.

Where do birds at Petco come from?

Both Petsmart and Petco get their birds from the Kaytee Preferred Birds program which has two facilities located in Florida. They are also establishing one in Las Vegas.

Can you return animals to Petco?

Should the need arise, Petco will gladly assist you in finding a home, or may take back, any companion animal in good health regardless of the length of ownership, as part of our “Think Adoption First” program to find a loving home for every animal.