Last Post by LoveChaCha at 10/23/2012 5:26 PM (7 Replies)
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User is Offline Bonnie
1 posts Send Private Message
10/19/2012 6:21 PM

I wrote to the SPCA to urge them to investigate some repulsive behaviour by a pet store. What I saw recently was the last straw.

Some background: I am a former bunny guardian who very regretfully purchased animals from the offending store. My (obviously unweaned and underage) 6-inch baby Netherland Dwarf rabbit died within hours and the staff dismissed it as stress from moving. The store claims their rabbits are 2 to 3 months old but it's so obvious they are lying. I got a replacement who died in 3 weeks but not before I took her to the vet and in the process shelled out hundreds to try to save her. The store told me "If this one dies, you're out of luck." It turned out her digestive tract was infected with the contagious deadly coccidia parasite. The vet also said the store told me to feed the wrong hay (timothy), which is meant for weight loss and should not be introduced until the bunny is at least 6 months old, and that I should have fed alfalfa hay. This is downright extortion for animal lovers.

This is part of what I wrote to the SPCA:

"During my visit today, one of the rabbits looked particularly sick and had his or her body frozen in place, perhaps too weak to move (an ignorant shopper remarked, "He's posing.") while its head was stretched and tilted back, gasping for air through the opening-and-closing mouth like a fish out of water, and sneezing occasionally. Its snout and mouth was turning slightly purple. Its eyes and nostrils were crusty with thick whitish discharge as if it had severe bacterial respiratory and eye infections. There was significantly more food in this cage than the cage of the relatively healthy rabbit, indicating this sick rabbit had not been able to eat for some time. I recorded some video and took some photos of both the sick and healthy rabbits while another customer reported the illness to staff. Children and other ignorant shoppers giggled at the seemingly dying rabbit and commented on how cute it was.

The employee responded that the rabbit "might just have a cold" and took it to the backroom. This is either a cruel lie or the employee is not nearly informed enough to be working with animals, because that is scientifically impossible. Rabbits cannot fall ill due to human cold viruses. Due to the structuring of their respiratory systems, rabbits are obligate nasal breathers, and any attempt to breathe through the mouth is an emergency that signifies severe respiratory distress or suffocation and may mean the animal is on the verge of death. I am appalled at the blatantly false explanation of the rabbit's suffering. I do not know how long the rabbit had been on display with these symptoms before I passed by, noticed how sick it was and told other concerned customers to notify employees as I recorded evidence."

I would not be surprised if the rabbit died right after it was taken away. I doubt any vet would be called because that would cut into profits. Absolutely appalling.

User is Offline bullrider76543
Joplin MO
1291 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 3:26 AM

I rescued Baby and Donna-Christopher(they were too small to tell sex) from a horrible pet store here!! they were both severely underweight and too young!!! Baby was only 8 oz when we got her!!!! Donna-Christopher passed over the rainbow soon after we got him/her. Baby has been a fighter since day one and is happy and healthy now (although probably from being ripped from her mom) is still scared of every human!!! unless you are giving her a treat then she takes it and runs away.
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User is Offline Sarita
18885 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 4:24 AM
Bullrider, I edited your comments.

I'm honestly not certain what we can do to help you - you have notified the SPCA and you should follow up with them directly on this. This is really best dealt with locally. I understand that you are upset but not sure that posting this is going to truly help you get this corrected. I hope that you follow up with local rescues and SPCA in your area that can be of more help.

User is Offline bullrider76543
Joplin MO
1291 posts Send Private Message
10/20/2012 5:03 AM
yes with me calling them, they shut the store down!!! thank god. I was just using my experience as an example to bonnie that even one voice can help, because some people who are appalled by things they see like this, most just keep it to themselves and fail to report it. I think it is very important as animal lovers to report any maltreatment of all animals!!!
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User is Offline SirThumpsey
491 posts Send Private Message
10/22/2012 8:13 AM
I really hope this gets corrected Bonnie, It is really hard for me to imagine that poor little guy. I'm sorry you had to witness such a horrible thing but in a way I'm glad that somebody who is bun savvy saw it so they could report it and hopefully do something about it.

Unfortunately, you are probably right that this little guy probably did pass soon after he was taken back.

Maybe all of our rainbow buns will show him how to binky and he can breathe easy now knowing he is safe.

User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
16164 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2012 1:09 AM
This is so sad. Pet stores are cruel places. Never support pet stores that sell animals!!
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless

User is Offline zoologist
Orlando, Fl
270 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2012 4:23 PM
If you're buying a pet from a pet store that's not "rescuing" it. That's getting one out of the store so they can quickly replace it with another.

I once bought a hedgehog from a local petshop who was in bad shape. I took him to the vet and got a full work up along with a letter saying he was sick when I bought him. I went back to the store and tried to demand my money back as well as the vet money. The owner wanted me to give him the hedgehog in exchange for my money back!! I couldn't believe it. He had customers in the store and I started going off on how horrible the conditions were and how I would never give him back my hedgehog as he'd just end up killing it due to lack of care. He gave me my money back and I've been banned from the store. I wasn't able to get him shut down and now my dad buys fish from him all the time, ugh.


User is Offline LoveChaCha
Rabbit Warren
6655 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2012 5:26 PM
I will have to agree with LPT and Zoologist. It is better to adopt from a shelter. Knowing that you are rescuing from a shelter, you are taking one rabbit, and allowing one to go in its place until the next bun finds its forever home.

This is why I avoid pet stores that sell rabbits. They want you to buy these animals.