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The Nebraska Humane Society Didn’t Cite Pets R Us over Dog, Bird: Here’s Why

By on January 31, 2018
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Earlier this week, a woman posted videos and photos on Facebook from her visit to Pets R Us, an Omaha pet store that sells animals. The reaction she had was emotional and colorful and negative. The reaction on social media was equally as harsh. Read our story on that here.

And earlier today, we told readers of two things that are pertinent to the situation:

1. Pets R Us responded to the firestorm on Facebook saying, essentially, everything is fine and no animals are sick here. The store also included a recounting of a statement made by the Nebraska Humane Society. The shelter’s animal control division visited upon complaints that a bird and dog in the woman’s photos seemed sick.

2. There’s a legislative bill bouncing around the Nebraska Unicameral concerning pet stores and what should be allowed for sale in them. Animal advocates want pet stores to stop selling animals from commercial breeders and, instead, start stocking animals that come from rescue and shelter operations. The bill also has a number of provisions and amendments to old statutes that force those who sell animals to be more detailed, accountable, and responsible. Read about the response from Pets R Us and the proposed bill here.

And in the second story listed above, we displayed the response from Pets R Us, saying the transcript the cited was reportedly from the Nebraska Humane Society. Nowhere in the store’s response did it indicate those words were official. We can now verify that the response includes actual findings from the actual animal control visit.

“That summary is from NHS,” says Pam Wiese of the shelter’s public relations and marketing department. “The summary is extensive and pretty much speaks for itself. All animals are seen by a vet once a week (which incidentally is probably more than most owned dogs). Both animals that were raising concern, the thin puppy and the Cockatoo, have vet records and health plans, and their current conditions (thin and feather plucking) do not appear to be due to neglect or abuse by the store,” Wiese adds.

The animals seen in photos and videos were said to be without water, which is, according to the NHS inspection, untrue. If you go back, look for the spigots as they are not readily apparent, but there nonetheless.

Here’s the really important part of the entire situation (outside concerns about business practices that animal advocates are constantly working to change): Pets R Us, at least at the time of inspection, is in compliance with legal standards, so there is nothing to cite at the store.

Some may have a problem with standards, but the Nebraska Humane Society is measuring against those vet standards. Nothing was apparent at the time of inspection that didn’t meet standards, so no citation could be issued.

There is one disheartening thing that has occurred since the NHS response was posted online, and that’s people who are angry or frustrated at the fact that there were no citations issued seem to think that the reason isn’t because of standards; instead, they feel as if there’s some big conspiracy going on to protect the pet store. The shelter would cite if it could. Some may think they should have, but, again, the animal control officers are observing and measuring against the standards that pet stores are to achieve.

Wiese summed things up in saying, “We simply can’t cite for things that aren’t illegal.”

Going forward, Pets in Omaha is committed to following this story, encouraging people to do whatever they can to fight for animals (look for a post soon that lists way to help), and keeping an interested eye on the Unicameral. It could be that, very soon, places like Pets R Us and Tully’s will not be able to sell dogs from mysterious breeders in faraway places, instead housing only shelter and rescue dogs. That’s something that very few will argue against.

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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