PetCo tests adopting out rabbits instead of selling them
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2004:
SAN DIEGO–In lieu of selling rabbits, four PetCo stores in
the Minneapolis area have begun offering rabbits for adoption from
the Minne-sota House Rabbit Society.
Since 1965 PetCo has offered dogs and cats for adoption from
shelters, instead of selling puppies and kittens from breeders.
PETsMART has done likewise from inception in 1986. Neither chain,
however, has felt before that rescue groups for small mammals,
birds, and reptiles could provide a sufficiently reliable supply of
animals to enable the stores to hold market share.
The test of rabbit adoptions brought PetCo some good
publicity in an otherwise difficult year, including a PETA pledge
to boycott PetCo until it quits selling animals.
Settling suits brought by five California communities, PetCo
in May 2004 agreed to pay a total of $711,754 in fines and
investigative costs for allegedly neglecting animal care and
overcharging customers, and to spend at least $202,500 to improve
In January 2004 Texas district judge Darlene Byrne ordered
PetCo to pay $47,000 to Carol Schuster of Austin, including $10,000
each for emotional anguish, loss of companionship, and punitive
damages. Schuster’s minature schnauzer had escaped from a PetCo
employee while being walked after grooming, and was killed by a car.
The verdict was overturned in June by the Texas 3rd Court of
Appeals, upholding an 1893 precedent limiting damages for the loss
of a dog to material costs plus legal expenses.
Schuster’s attorney told Veterinary Practice News that the
case will be taken to the Texas Supreme Court.