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Ten Fast Facts about Pet Shops

  1. In pet shops, animals must be viewed as commodities in order for the store to realize a profit. This means that, in order to cut costs, animals are too often kept in inadequate conditions and denied needed veterinary care.
  1. The cost of providing veterinary care for an animal kept in a pet shop can easily exceed the animal's commercial value — meaning that animals may be left to suffer or even die from untreated illnesses or injuries.
  2. In addition to providing often inadequate care to animals, pet shops that sell animals contribute to the already overwhelming problem of overpopulation in shelters and rescue groups.
  3. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, sales of live animals in the pet industry totaled $1.6 billion in 2004.
  4. In a 2003 survey, only 38% of U.S. pet shops reported that they did not sell any live animals (birds, small animals, reptiles and amphibians, kittens, puppies, or salt or freshwater fish).
  5. Most animals sold in pet shops are not protected by the federal Animal Welfare Act. Some states have laws that address the care and treatment of animals kept in a retail environment, but these laws vary widely in quality and scope.
  6. Too often conditions that seem cruel and inappropriate do not actually violate any laws of the state in which the store is located.
  7. In API’s 2005 undercover investigation in California, nearly half of the pet shops visited displayed animals who showed signs of illness, injury, or neglect. Nearly half of the stores also sold animals showing clear symptoms of psychological distress.
  8. More than half of the stores in our investigation failed to provide environmental enrichment to one or more animals in their care.
  9. Only one state (California) requires that pet shops provide customers with information on the proper care and treatment of the animal being purchased. But in our investigation, more than half of the pet shops in California failed to make such information available.

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