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How to stop Pets R Us and Tully’s from selling mill dogs and cats

By on January 31, 2018
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We recently wrote a story concerning outrage from folks on social media in response to photos and videos a woman posted from her visit to Pets R Us, a local pet store that sells animals. Thousands of people read our story and more news outlets covered the concern, so there’s definite interest in this store and people wanting a more humane approach. At the end of this post, you will find the response that Pets R Us posted on its Facebook page after the Nebraska Humane Society and Animal Control reportedly visited the store. We’ve also asked the Nebraska Humane Society for reaction to the reported visit. We hope to bring you insight from that side of the story soon.

It seems Pets R Us has come away from this particular uproarious situation unscathed. How do animal advocates plan to fight what they see as inhumane practice at the store going forward?

Each year, there are many legislative bills proposed in the Nebraska Unicameral that aim to protect consumers and animals. Legislative Bill 893, also called the Dog and Cat Protection Act, has been introduced to the Nebraska Legislature for 2018. It’s a bill that revises current statutes and adds language to promote consumer protection and accountability in those who sell dogs and cats.

A salient point in the legislative bill that would impact places like Pets R Us and Tully’s in Omaha is, among other things, this:

 

Sec. 4. (1) A pet shop owner shall not sell a pet animal in a pet shop unless such animal was obtained from an animal control facility, animal shelter, or animal rescue as such terms are defined in section 54-626. 

 

Read the entire text of LB893 here

LB893 was first read on January 8, 2018, was referred to the Agriculture Committee the following day, and there’s a hearing scheduled for February 20 to discuss. If you’d like to contact your local representative about the legislative bill, find your senator by clicking here. After all, senators will vote, we hope to think, the way his or her constituents want him or her to. If you and others support this bill and report that to your senator, you can make an impact.

The bill was proposed by Senators Wishart (District 27), Chambers (District 11), Howard (District 9) and Morfeld (District 46). There are a number of stages involved in the passage of a bill or amending statutes, so stay tuned. To voice support of LB893, email Lydia Brasch at lbrasch@leg.ne.gov by 5 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2018.

 

Pets R Us’ Facebook response regarding the reported NHS visit to the store:

Thank you all for your concern, the humane society did visit the store today and made this post in regards to everyone’s comments.

Hi Guys: Animal control checked out Pets R Us Monday morning, January 29, 2018. Regarding the Boxer pup: It is a female and was the smallest of the litter. Boxers, by breed, are also a naturally thin dog.

The dog is a TACC 3 on the weight scale which is considered “thin” but not emaciated. The store has on hand proof that they have had the dog seen by a local veterinarian before this came up yesterday, and it was also seen again today as a precaution. The vet is not overly concerned. They also have proof on hand that they had a weight gain chart which was started on the 15th hanging up in the food room for this puppy. The chart shows improvements with each documentation, starting at 4.5 lbs on January 15th and ending at 7.4 lbs today. They also had proof on hand that there were documented instructions to the animal care givers that the Boxers were to be separated when feeding so they could monitor and ensure that this puppy was receiving all of her food supply. We cannot prove that the weight gain chart wasn’t all written out this morning, although we highly doubt this due to previous findings of similar care steps at this store.

It appears this store has taken the necessary steps to ensure this puppy is improving and receiving adequate food supply. It is not the fault of this store that this puppy arrived at their location thin, and the breeder who supplied the puppy is not located in Nebraska.

Each puppy kennel contained a bowl for food; many bowls were empty. They also each had water spigots inserted into the back of the cage for water supply. Ordinances do not require that pet stores free-feed puppies and many veterinarians will also recommend against this as some puppies gorge themselves. The puppy in question is being fed 3 times daily, which the vet feels is adequate. The “no water” complaint is unfounded. The spigots are in plain view in the kennel. The store uses these to keep water fresh and potable at all times as puppies often play in water bowls or even go to the bathroom in them. So this method of watering is actually preferred. We were allowed in the back area and confirmed all water bottles were full.

A local vet clinic has confirmed to us they do a walkthrough of this store each week on Thursdays to look over the animals within and address and treat any health or wellness concerns if found. This puppy was present in the store during previous walkthroughs.

The parrot in question is an older Citron Cockatoo named “Rex.” He is a permanent resident of the store. The parrot has been rehomed 4 times and each time the owner eventually gave up the bird. The store owners felt it was unfair to keep rehoming the bird so they decided to make it a permanent resident. The bird has a plucking issue which has been looked at by a veterinarian in the past and it was determined it is a psychological plucking issue. Once this behavior starts it is incredibly difficult to stop and destroys the bird’s overall appearance. Constant changes between homes will lead to stress which could very well have contributed to this bird’s issue, so we do not feel it was a poor decision to discontinue the bird’s availability. “Rex” has a large cage, and spends his days out of the cage on a large play tree with toys and enrichment provided. Vets will recommend a lot of enrichment for birds who pluck in attempt to keep their attention off of themselves, though this is not always 100% successful.

The bird remains in the store versus being sent to a rescue or taken home by the store owners because it receives attention from guests all day long and the bird seems to thrive on this. Taking the bird home after it’s used to receiving attention all day and suddenly keeping it someplace where it is quiet and lonely all day, could actually cause more stress. While we were in the store we witnessed the bird light up and get excited any time someone walked up to it. The bird made attempts to approach people as well and allows people to pet it. A parrot who is stressed by crowds and hates people will behave in an agitated manner around people and will not seek or allow their attention. So it is not apparent that being in the store is causing this bird excessive stress.

There is evidence that the feathers are growing back, and the bird picks on them promptly as they grow out. The store owner can do nothing to stop this.

There are no violations of the law currently at Pets R Us. Water is available at all times. Food is provided in suitable intervals according to veterinary standards. The puppy is thin but is being cared for adequately and it is not the fault of the store for being thin. The bird is not neglected and is not in poor condition as a result of neglect. All other animals appeared fine.

About Eric Forrest

Eric is a pet lover, bookworm and dad. He's had 5 family dogs, 4 cats, a cottontail rabbit he nursed back to health, and two ducks. Cats are his preference, but Eric loves all little critters.

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