What do you do if you find a bad pet store?

While the New England Herpetological Society as a body cannot comment on bad (or good) pet stores, we do support everyone’s efforts to correct problems found and to educate not only store personnel, but the general public who shops there.

If you are in a pet store and see animals being kept in improper environments, or sick, dying, or even dead animals on display, there are some steps you can take.

  1. Document everything. Write down everything you see, the date and time you were in the store, and the names of any employees you talk to (and what they said).
  2. Ask to see a manager. Don’t be confrontational, but request his/her assistance in understanding why these conditions are what they are. Tell him/her you would be happy to bring in care sheets so he can educate the people who work for him and who are responsible for the day-to-day care of the animals. If you do not get a positive response, thank him/her for their time and leave. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THIS STORE!! We do not recommend ‘rescuing’ sick animals from pet stores; you will merely perpetuate the problem.
  3. Write a follow-up letter to the manager as soon as possible, copying any applicable corporate office. List the problems you saw, who you talked to, and what your conversation with the manager was. Then, if the manager did request more information, enclose it.
  4. In particularly bad cases (many dead and infected animals, really filthy cages) you can contact the local Board of Health and report the store as a public health hazard. It does take time, but as long as you have everything well-documented there’s a better chance that something will be done.
  5. If you feel that the store is not doing anything to rectify the situation, feel free to contact any local press.