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    • CommentTimeFeb 16th, 2010 5:52pm (Feb 16th 2010) edited

    Keeper of the hens

    Me and Lyle visit Pets At Home quite a lot, as it is the only pet shop in our area that sells a vast majority of products, such as fish filters, books on animals etc. And we enjoy looking around the animals they have there, but it makes us sad at the conditions they are kept in. So we decided to email them and see what they had to say about'll probably be nothing, but oh well :P

    I'll keep you updated on any reply, if we get one, and here is the email below:


    We recently visited a newly discovered Pets At Home store today (we always thought since moving to uni that the store at Festival Park was the closest to us, and only recently discovered the one on Newcastle Road), and were pleasantly surprised that this store seemed, at least when we visited today, a lot better than the other one.

    We have noticed in the past when we have visited the Festival Park store (which we have been to at least ten times now) that there always seems to be a disturbing number of dead fish in the different tanks, particularly the cold water tanks. Indeed our highest count of dead fish was nine, although that did include three that were dead in a tank where the fish had been separated due to illness.

    However, the fish at the Newcastle store seemed much healthier and happier, although we have only seen them once. We were also impressed with the fact that the fish were given slices of cucumber and oranges to eat, which is something we like to do with our pet fish to help supplement their diet :)

    As an experienced owner of the majority of the animals that are usually stocked at Pets At Home (apart from beardies!), I must say that your treatment of the rats and syrian hamsters has always shocked me the most - although the gerbils could do with a little more sawdust to bury in also ;)

    I have owned six lovely rats in the past, and so am aware that they need large cages and a stimulating environment, with plenty of places to seek refuge and spend quiet time. Frankly none of the rats I have ever seen at a Pets At Home store have had this provided. The cages they are in are small, overcrowded and with little enrichment activities available for them. The store today, although the cage was clean, housed six rats (and I wouldn't have kept two in there) and all appeared bored and were unable to fit in the one hiding place provided.

    The third point (I think!) I wish to raise is regarding the syrian hamsters. Syrian hamsters are not to live with other syrian hamsters, although they can be successfully housed together up to about 8 weeks of age. After that they need their own space otherwise they will begin fighting. Much of the fighting occurs at night so, if such fighting was taking place, the Pets At Home staff probably wouldn't have any idea about fighting until serious damage occurred.

    Also, housing so many hamsters in such tiny cages is unhealthy and cruel on the animals. We once counted seven syrian hamsters together in the same small cage, and these are the breed of hamsters which you will only sell separately! And what's more these weren't young hamsters, they were adult-sized, and the cages they are kept in simply aren't large enough for that number of hamsters. Nor were there enough sleeping compartments provided for that number of hamsters, so some were having to sleep out in the open curled in corners.

    I'm not really sure what I am expecting you to do in response to this email. Especially as I'm not sure if there is anything within your power that you could do to help the animals at the different stores. It just makes me sad as, for the most part, I enjoy your stores and the products you sell, and have been a customer at them for many years. It just makes me sad that some of your animals are kept in the conditions that they are, and that it could affect the way they behave towards new owners in the future and give that species of animal a bad name.

    I am aware that I will probably receive a standard 'There is nothing Pets At Home can do about this, all our pets are happy and we maintain RSPCA standards' reply, but thank you for taking the time to read and respond anyway.

    Scarlet Williams
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th, 2010 5:54pm (Feb 16th 2010)

    Keeper of the hens

    Hahahahahaha, woah, didn't realise how long it was until i copied it here :gasp:

    Thought it'd help to be able to read it all properly laid-out like it is here, but now i just find myself pitying the person who has to read and respond :rolling:
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th, 2010 8:33pm (Feb 16th 2010) edited
    Lovely to read a "Nice" letter of complaint.
    I notice you use the "Royal" "me"

    When I have ago at someone, in what I consider a polite and positive manner, all I get is getting accused of being a grouchy old woman!
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th, 2010 10:03pm (Feb 16th 2010)
    I don't think your letter is overly long Red, I think its very well put together. I went into our local Pets@Home store last week and they have had a refit which must've been very recent as they had no animals in the shop at all. Their rats were kept in the conditions you described, though I've never looked at the fish (I'm usually on my lunch break so am running in and out!) and had never considered that about the hamsters before ... food for thought.

    You are right, you will get a standard "RSPCA blah blah" letter, but at least you're doing something. BTW, I noticed that the P@H refitted store now sell chicken products (er, stuff for the hens, not reconstituted chicken to be eaten!)
    • CommentAuthorTrevs Mum
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th, 2010 10:28am (Feb 17th 2010)
    Fantastic, well written Red, its true unless we jump up and down about these things nothing will ever change. You did great,girl!!!!!
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th, 2010 5:39pm (Feb 17th 2010)
    :045:Good girl. You tell 'em!
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th, 2010 7:28pm (Feb 17th 2010)
    Well done Red, it will be interesting to see their reply
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th, 2010 5:31pm (Feb 19th 2010)

    Keeper of the hens

    Thanks everyone :laugh: Still no reply yet.
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd, 2010 4:40pm (Feb 23rd 2010)

    Keeper of the hens

    Well, we got a reply from Pets At Home, and I must say it was much better than I was expecting! Shall copy it here:

    "Dear Ms Williams,

    Many thanks for your email.

    May I firstly apologise for the upset caused on your recent visit to our Stoke store. I would like to assure you that Pets at Home is a responsible Pet retailer and like yourself we are very passionate about the Pets in our care. Most of our colleagues that come to work in our stores are very interested in animals and generally know a lot about pets and have pets themselves. We adhere to ensure that we put pets before profit and all the pets in our stores are treated with the care and respect that they deserve.

    Unfortunately the Stoke store has been having some problems with their coldwater fish, however the store do ensure that they follow the procedures and check any tanks where the losses are high. They do feed the fish a varied diet which consists of flakes, pellets, bloodworm, frozen peas and cucumber. The store also ensure that they are following the Pet Care Trust stocking density guidelines specifically on all small animals, Pets are generally sold within a week of coming out of quarantine and therefore are not in the cages for long periods, all small animals are cleaned out regularly and given enrichment for the period of time that they are at the store.

    Any pet that unfortunately does not sell and therefore becomes too big to be placed with the smaller animals we offer this animal for re-homing. Support Adoption for Pets is our own charity where we raise money and awareness of rescue centres and the re-homing unwanted pets. All our stores contain Support Adoption Centres where we offer pets a second chance of happiness. Our Centres take in pets for a variety of reasons, normally they come from our customers who have had a change in circumstances which means they can no longer look after their pet, it may be that unfortunately a pet has been nursed back to health in our store and therefore we would like to re-home this pet with a caring owner. Also some of the pets in store do go to our own colleagues as I said earlier many of our colleagues are very passionate about pets and often have a great deal of knowledge to look after any rescued pet.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact a manager at the store if you want to discuss your concerns further they will be more than happy to deal with any issues that you have immediately. I sincerely hope I have been able to ease your concerns and if I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me."
    • CommentAuthornanny north
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd, 2010 6:57pm (Feb 23rd 2010)
    Well I am impressed that they took the time to answer your letter in so much detail. I am sure you still get good stores and bad one though, no matter what they say.
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd, 2010 10:19pm (Feb 23rd 2010)
    Well done for getting an answer - and not a bog standard one! So, next time you're there and see something you're not happy with ask to speak to the shop manager. Eventually (s)he'll either get fed up of you and sort it out, or ban you from the store! :D They didn't really address the hamster thing though did they.
    • CommentAuthorTrevs Mum
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd, 2010 11:12pm (Feb 23rd 2010)
    well done Red and thatb was quite a detailed reply, not one you expect now days. Kate is right though the hamsters are still overcrowded.:chinchilla:
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd, 2010 11:37pm (Feb 23rd 2010)

    Keeper of the hens

    Yes, i thought that too...but 'grats to her for obviously trying to satisfy me (or fob me off, whichever :P ), I appreciate that.
    • CommentAuthorvolka
    • CommentTimeMar 4th, 2010 1:26pm (Mar 4th 2010)
    A bit late in responding but well done Red.