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Animal advocates calling on PetSmart to stop selling reptiles, amphibians

Last Updated Oct 12, 2021 at 10:27 pm EDT

Customs officials display seized turtles at the customs office Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Sepang, Malaysia. Two Indian citizens were arrested due to smuggling attempt into the country on a flight from Guangzhou, China with thirty-two small boxes packed with 5,225 red-eared slider turtles. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

A Toronto-based animal charity is calling on PetSmart to stop the sale of reptiles and amphibians in a petition set to be delivered to stores on Thursday.

World Animal Protection spokesperson, Michèle Hamers, said this is because the non-profit is concerned these wild animals don’t get the proper care they need after they are purchased because it’s hard to replicate their natural needs, such as proper temperatures, UV light, and nutrition.

Hamers said, “PetSmart showed themselves to be a leader when they chose not to sell kittens and puppies out of concern for their welfare,” and would like to see the business do the same for reptiles and amphibians.

Reptiles and amphibians often get diseases they wouldn’t have in the wild, Hamers said, and “our research shows that more than 40 per cent of people buy these animals on an impulse.”


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“If you speak to veterinarians, we know that when these animals see a vet, which is unfortunately not very often, the diseases that they have are all very much captive related,” Hamers said, “for example, a very well-known disease is called soft-bones disease, which animals get because they don’t get the right amount of nutrition, so their bones are actually misformed and not as strong as they should be.”

Hamers said people mistakenly think reptiles and amphibians are easy to take care of, “often they grow much larger than people realize and they don’t have space,” and the animals often get dumped in the wild or escape.

While it’s hard to know exactly what happens to the animals after they are “dumped” or escape, Hamers said, “many of these animals though probably just die, either from starvation or because of the weather, because our winters are so harsh, it will be difficult for most of these animals to survive the winter.”

“At PetSmart, we love all animals, including reptiles and amphibians, and we believe they make us better people,” PetSmart said in a statement to 680 NEWS. “That’s why we are so passionate about our commitment to the well-being of pets and hold both ourselves and our suppliers to the highest pet care standards in the industry. We make every effort to ensure pets in our care, or in the care of a supplier, receive proper and humane treatment.”

PetSmart adds, “as always, if a specific pet care concern is relayed to us, we immediately look into the issue and address it as appropriate.”