Something smells fishy about this “Adoption Event”

By on September 20, 2019

We cover local pet events. It’s a big part of what we do in an attempt to grow community and spread the word about local, displaced animals and the people who volunteer on behalf of the animals for humane organizations. Events are also a great way for rescues to garner support for their efforts. Not only do we promote events so people can go meet cute, potential pets, but we cover them in order to encourage volunteering, fostering opportunities, fellowship, and donating.

So when we heard that a local pet store, Pets R Us in Rockbrook, was hosting an Adoption Event, we wanted to know more.

We’ve covered Pets R Us a couple of times here. The context we have is important, and it’s significant to know the nature of our coverage. First, we covered peaceful protests of the store that included many local rescues and animal advocates. You see, Pets R Us sells animals and these groups are in favor of adoption, not shopping for animals. Most animals that are sold in stores (for hundreds, if not more than a thousand dollars) are from commercial breeders. That is, people who are more concerned with making a buck than the well being of animals under their “care”.

If you are skeptical that stores acquire their animals from commercial breeders, sometimes called puppy mills, try finding out where the animal you are buying is from. Maybe you’ll get that info after they’ve accepted payment, but other times you’ll be told something like, “He’s from a ‘family farm’ or ‘small, local breeder'”, which is not only deceptive, but sometimes wholly false.

The second time we covered the store was in response to complaints about the health of animals for sale there. Concerned citizens posted pictures of animals on social media, prompting the Nebraska Humane Society to investigate. The store wasn’t charged with anything criminal, but it’s something that local animal officials wanted to take a peek.

So, Pets R Us is not a well-regarded outfit among animal advocates. In fact, they’re thought of as an enemy. If your spider sense is going off now because the store is hosting an “adoption event” tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 21 from noon until two, we’re on the same page.

A digital flyer posted by the store indicated that there will be adult and young cats for adoption and the felines are from a rescue the store works with. If anyone is at all familiar with adoption advocacy, one knows a couple of things, including that rescues don’t host adoption events at stores that sell animals. This can be considered a really red flag.

We called Pets R Us twice for information about the event. In our first call, we were given details about the event’s time and that’s about it. The store’s owner would be the person to talk to, the store’s employee said. He wasn’t there currently. Call back tomorrow.

When we called back the next day, the owner happened to answer the phone. Here’s what he said about the rescue:

It’s a “private rescue” and it doesn’t have a name. It’s not a registered non-profit.

The cats available for adoption are “Mostly farm cats or surrenders.”

The “Adoption Counselor Lady” will be there tomorrow.

There won’t be any way for people to find out how to volunteer for the rescue and they don’t take donations.

This is “not about the store making any money and the adoption fees go towards the cost of preparing the cats for adoption,” in fact, the fee “doesn’t even cover the costs.”

There’s a lot to unpack here, like why farm cats need rescuing, why the “rescue” doesn’t want to be recognized, and the store’s owner feeling it was important to make sure we didn’t think this was about making money, but here’s the bottom line:

We know there are two sides to every story. In this story, it seems that one side is saying that a pet store that sells animals is selling animals they’re calling “rescues”. The other side of the story is a secret, apparently. When that’s the case, the place starts to smell a little fishy.

If you’re looking to adopt a cat, please go to the Nebraska Humane Society, Midlands Humane Society, Town and Country Humane Society, or to any of the registered, transparent, trusted humane organizations in our area like Feline Friendz and the Foster Kitten Project. At least there, you know as much of the story as possible and there’s no regret that you’re contributing to something that’s less than ethically or morally responsible.

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