Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Why Is Petsmart Selling Rabbits?

I have thought of Petsmart as an innovative retailer in that it does not sell dogs or cats and it offers space to rescue groups to show animals for adoption. But the company's decision this summer to do a "test" of selling baby dwarf rabbits harks back to the bad old days of pets being sold to anyone with the money with no questions asked. To their credit Petsmart has included on their site the very appropriate blast from the House Rabbit Society about the folly of this idea.

As anyone who has animal shelter experience knows, rabbits are the third most frequently surrendered animal. While they are wonderful pets for the right people, they are not low maintenance and they have a lifespan of more than 10 years. At the Animal Welfare League of Arlington over the past fiscal year, the average shelter stay for rabbits before finding an adoptive home is 69 days. This compares to 36 days for cats and 25 days for dogs. Shelters and rescue groups are overwhelmed with unwanted rabbits.

Petsmart says, "We are testing the rabbit market believing that adoption and responsible sales can successfully coexist." So Petsmart already "believes" that selling rabbits can be successful. I welcome Petsmart to ask shelters and rescue groups to report on how many of these "baby" rabbits end up homeless when their owners (or their children) lose interest, don't have the time, or discover that someone in the household is allergic to their purchased pet.

1 comment:

AAGP said...

A similar problem exists with guinea pigs. It's very frustrating, as guinea pigs from pet stores are dumped in droves to shelters and rescues. Some people will say they want a pet store pig--odds are if they adopt they'll get one! Creating guinea pigs and rabbits when there are already so many homeless animals is irresponsible. Petsmart does not have the best interest of animals in mind when making this choice. Also, many of their products are harmful to the animals to which they're marketed. It's best to buy pet products from trusted online sources or pet store that don't sell animals, so as not to support Petsmart's contribution to the homeless animal population.