Wanted to share this with everyone else...I'm trying to spread the word about what happened to me and chinchillas at various intervals recently. This is an email that I sent to Joe Fucini, a Pet Supplies Plus representative...the first part is a complaint I filed against the corporation at planetfeedback.com I'm collecting a list of names (also need locations) of people willing to boycot PSP for at least the next few months. I am also trying to gather other "horror stories" about the conditions or service they have witnessed at another Pet Supplies Plus store.
Hi Mr. Fucini,
Thank you for your reply. I filed this complaint with an independent consumer website (planetfeedback.com). This is exactly how my letter appears:
Dear Dave Barens
Pet Supplies Plus
Inhumane treatment of animals
First off, I do chinchilla rescues and have been involved with them for a long time, and I do my research and give advice based on what I learn from other chin breeders and pet owners.
My dad was at another store today, and overheard a story that a woman was telling...apparently her sister had gotten a chinchilla from a pet store about 1/2 hour from here, because it had been returned by its owner. That chinchilla got its leg caught in a hay basket and ended up dying.
The woman went to my local petstore (where I got a chinchilla, Fluffers, who has seizures and will need to be put down soon) and got another chinchilla. I was at that petstore (Pet Supplies Plus, St. Clairsville, OH) about 2 weeks ago and told them that the chinchilla they had just gotten in was too young to be there and that she shouldn't be sold. The chinchilla was the smallest I have ever seen at a petstore...she looked like she couldn't have been more than 10 weeks old. I go in to that petstore once a week or so, to check on their chinchillas and sex them.
Apparently they didn't listen to me, because the woman bought the chinnie on Sunday, and when she came in today, the chin was dead (4 DAYS after the woman had gotten the chin).
So she took the chinchilla back to the store, and they said they didn't know what they could do about it.
My dad gave the woman my number and she called me a little bit ago about adopting one of my rescues, and she's going come over next week to look at them.
I just paid a visit to the petstore and had a few choice words with the manager, who told me that I needed to come back and talk to the other manager, and was NOT nice about it and conversing with me. I got the name of the place that he thought the chins came from, and I've never heard of them; I know most of the breeders within 1000 miles of where I live.
I asked the manager if I could see the chin, and he said no, which I was expecting, and I asked if they were going to have a necropsy done and he said that they would send the chinnie back and didn't know what they would do, and said that he didn't even know if they would get credit.
This store has claimed to be concerned about the animals' best interests. The treatment and non-chalance that I have seen exhibited by this store is atrocious.
THIS IS AN ANIMAL...a living, breathing, feeling creature, not just some product. As of right now, I am giving this story to as many animal owners and lovers as I can. If something is not done in response to this, there are several other people ready and willing to react defensively.
I have, and know several other people, who have purchased animals from this store and had them die a matter of days after being taken home. It was not only mammals: lizards, geckos, bunnies, guinea pigs, etc. I have also been to several other stores of the same chain, one of these that I visited (Steubenville, OH) had 4 chinchillas in a 2' long by 10" deep and maybe 2' tall. There were 1 male and 3 females, and each one of them also had ringworm...SEVERE ringworm.
Closely investigate this store as well as those in the rest of this chain. Revoke their license to sell chinchillas and investigate the inhumane treatment of the rest of their animals.
But my complaint is not only with the St. Clairsville store. My father and I were in Steubenville, OH, tonight, and my mom called and asked him to pick up dog food. I checked on the chinchillas at that store (again, a Pet Supplies Plus store), and there were 4 chinchillas in a TINY glass cage. There were two males and two females, and one of the males is about 8 months old. The other three chins are probably 10 weeks old, and if a female gets pregnant that young, the kits will die and the chinchilla will probably also. I took several pictures of the habitat that the chinchillas are in; the pictures are attached. I asked the manager if I could speak to her for a moment, and she said that she could do nothing about the chinchillas' living conditions.
On your website it says:
We invite you to visit your local PSP store today. You’ll be sure to find:
Deep Discount Prices Everyday
A knowledgeable and friendly staff
Great deals on national brands of pet food and supplies, including Hills Science Diet, Nutro, Eukanuba, Alpo, Milkbone, Nature’s Recipe, Coastal, Marineland, Tetra, Kal Kan, Purina, Hagen, Kaytee, Tidy Cat, and more
And it also says:
Our stores make shopping easier
We offer a wide selection of name brand food treats, toys and supplies for all pets
The everyday low prices at our stores can't be beat
Our knowledgeable, courteous staff are always available to answer questions
The staff at these two locations, and from speaking to other pet owners, several other locations as well, are NOT knowledgeable about animals. For a staff person (who was standing there while I was explaining the situation of the female chinchilla to the manager at the St. Clairsville, OH store) to tell a customer that a chinchilla was just nervous and would be fine, after I explained that the chin should not be sold, is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous.
Your website also says:
"Pet Supplies "Plus" stores are located in convenient high-traffic sites with lots of easy parking. Our goal is to make our stores as comfortable and accessible as possible for our customers and their pets. That’s one reason why we limit the size of our stores to 5,000 to 6,000 square feet in smaller markets and 7,000 to 9,000 square feet in larger metropolitan areas. "
You make no mention of the welfare of the animals being sold, only mention of the consumers and the animals that come into your store.
I also asked for the name of the breeder that the chinchillas came from, and both manangers could only say "we get them through Pro-Pet." Pro-pet is not a breeder, it is an animal transport service. How can you expect your stores to be knowledgeable about a particular animal when they have no contact with that specific breeder?
The list of people boycotting your store is getting longer every day. Until something is drastically changed, that number will continue to grow. I would hate to think that this chain of petstores will be forced to close, but if this problem continues, I don't imagine that is far away.
The attached pictures were taken tonight, November 17, 2005 at the Steubenville, OH location.
Thank you again for your time,
----- Original Message -----
From: Joe Fucini
To: Annie Joseph
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 7:47 PM
Subject: Re: corporate office
Dear Ms. Joseph:
Thank you for contacting the Pet Supplies "Plus" website. We're sorry to learn that you are unhappy with your experience at two of our stores. Would you mind filling me in on some of the details of your grievance?
Pet Supplies "Plus"
----- Original Message -----
From: Annie Joseph
To: [email protected]
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 9:21 AM
Subject: corporate office
I would like the contact information for the president of this corporation, or perhaps the head of sales. I have a very disturbing complaint about two branches of your store, and as of right now, I have voiced my complaint on a number of pet forums. Until the problems are fixed, I am boycotting your chain of stores, along with 53 people across the US so far. Please reply as soon as possible before all of your stores are being boycotted. We are also prepared to openly boycot on the city streets and sidewalks leading to your stores until we see drastic improvements. I would prefer for it not to go that far, but I see no other option available.
1130 National Road
Wheeling, WV, 26003