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  • PETCO Expanding Rabbit Sales

    January 15th, 2006 - House Rabbit Society is disappointed to learn that PETCO is expanding the sale of rabbits into stores around the country, even stores that previously never sold rabbits, and stores in areas which enjoyed a relationship with House Rabbit Society volunteers in which adoptable rabbits were placed through those stores.

    Broken Promises
    Back in 1994, PETCO Vice-President Craig Walker delivered a written promise to several animal rescue organizations to the effect that PETCO would no longer sell rabbits in their stores, given the difficulties of teaching inexperienced customers about the complexities of rabbit care.

    Unfortunately, PETCO broke that promise and soon began selling rabbits in their stores again, contributing to the challenges that animal shelters and rescue groups like HRS have to deal with, when many of those rabbits ended up abandoned.

    Negotiations and a Successful Pilot
    In July 2002, HRS met with PETCO upper management in order to try to help PETCO stop the sale of rabbits. PETCO maintained that they wanted to stop selling rabbits, but wanted to keep rabbits of some kind in their stores, and hoped to work out an arrangement with HRS to place adoptable rabbits in all of their stores. While HRS did not (and does not) have the logistical resources to provide rabbits for all of PETCO's stores (although many of our chapters at the time did already work with local PETCO stores to adopt rabbits rather than sell them), we encouraged them to work with local shelters and rescue groups across the country in order to meet this goal.

    At that time, one of our chapters also stepped up and decided to spearhead an experiment whereby that chapter would provide adoptable rabbits for a number of stores in one Midwestern region, in order to test whether having adoptable rabbits full time in PETCO stores would be a feasible solution. This test was successful and an expansion to a second state was even more successful, eliminating euthanasia at a local shelter that takes in 100-150 rabbits per year. However, even with these successes, PETCO did not then actively reach out to other groups in order to replace purpose-bred rabbits for sale with homeless rabbits for adoption.

    More Broken Promises
    Instead, since that time, PETCO has started selling spayed and neutered rabbits in more of its stores, including stores that never before sold rabbits.

    HRS is terribly disappointed in PETCO's choice to sidestep its own "Think Adoption First" mission, and sell rabbits in stores that previously were successful without the sale of rabbits. We are even more disappointed to see that they are selling rabbits now in California stores, and especially in San Diego, where San Diego HRS volunteers, as well as local humane society volunteers, had previously been placing adoptable rabbits. While it is commendable that the rabbits being sold are now spayed and neutered, PETCO is still selling rabbits who have been purpose-bred for sale, when adoptable shelter rabbits are being euthanized due to a lack of homes.

    HRS once again asks our members and supporters to continue to shop for your pet supplies in stores where no rabbits, or other animals, are sold, and to encourage the adoption of homeless rabbits.

    House Rabbit Society is a non-profit rescue and education group.
    We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today!