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So in my area there are only two pet stores around (and no breeders or rescues for 500 miles) Petsmart and a lovely family owned business. So I went to Petsmart to get some toys for my soon to be first ratties, and of course I had to look at Petsmart's rats as well. I wouldn't ever buy animals from Petsmart and they don't carry boys anyhow, but I still wanted to view the little girls. So I walk over to the cage and what do I see? A cage of 5 girls stuffed into a glass tank with a metal back panel only allowing tiny slits for air, some weird colorful horribly dusty bedding, no food whatsoever, and in fact had loads of small dusty bits from the bedding covering it, and a tiny igloo and a PVC pipe where the only other objects in the cage. To make this situation worse two young children ran up to the cage and started beating on the glass, and a worker just calmly walked by without doing anything :mad:

I'm so disgusted and horribly upset over how these rats were treated. Luckily, the lovely family owned business I was talking about has wonderful staff that is knowledgeable about rats and two workers even shared stories about their rats with me. I will be getting my first two boys from that store this Friday, but I feel horribly guilty about not speaking up when I was at Petsmart.. I have horrible social anxiety and I was absolutely floored with how awful the rats were treated... but I still should have done something and I feel absolutely horrible now thinking back on it :(
 

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I totally understand where you are coming from. I have social anxiety as well. But I would do what Kelshels suggested. I would call, or email letting them know.
 

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Sadly pet shops don't make much money on the small animals they sell. In fact the smartest pet shop owner I knew flat out gave them away... "Free With Cage" In fact that slogan was all over his pet shop and on everything short of the stingrays and parrots. He'd gladly give you a couple of rats if you bought the appropriate cage. He explained that he actually lost money on most small animals anyway and the only reason he sold small animals at all was to sell cages, supplies food, toys etc. And by the way his package deals weren't terribly overpriced either. He even went so far as to have a free replacement policy if the small animals or fish died. As he once told me, people with dead pets don't buy much pet food.... He was also big on teaching proper care and taking very good care of the his animals and giving great advise and coaching newbies before the internet. In fact he was about the last of the "mom and pop" pet shops to thrive. And of course he had a supermarket on one side of his store and a vet on the other... This guy was really sharp as a tack and sold his business a few months before the supermarket closed and the vet moved away.

But to get back to my point... big box pet shops really don't care if you buy small animals there, they want your big dollar business... cages, food, dry goods, toys etc. By buying your rats at the mom and pop shop and your big ticket items at the big box stores or on line you are actually killing your local mom and pop shop. Yes, you are saving a few bucks per item because mom and pop can't buy in bulk, but if they make a few bucks per rat at best, they still lose the few bucks per bag of food that you buy every month and the mark up on the cage and the toys etc that they have to carry in inventory that you are buying elsewhere.

So do send an e-mail or snail mail letter to the manager or regional supervisor of the big box store, it might help, remember to include a comment that you won't buy cages or consumables from them if they don't take better care of their animals.... but keep in mind you were doing exactly what the big box store wants you to do... buy your rats somewhere else and then go to them and buy the high markup items.

In order to survive, mom and pop pets shops need to sell the big ticket items and consumable.

When I was a kid every town had a pet shop. For the most part they are all gone and they are never coming back. When the big box stores arrived they didn't sell fish or small animals, just the higher profit items... once they massacred the small pet shops they grudgingly started to carry fish and small animals, because no one was selling fish and small animals for them to supply dry goods to. If you are lucky enough to have a local pet shop left, remember they need your big ticket and consumable business, most will special order exactly what you want. But every time you buy your food. toys, cages etc. at the big box store or on line your're putting another nail in mom and pop's coffin.
 

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I wish we had an option other than Petsmart around. I'm all for finding good deals, but if it meant keeping a better store alive I'd definitely be willing to spend a little more on a cage. Petsmart makes me so sad. None of the animals have enough space - not the hermit crabs, not the birds, definitely not the rats. It'd be different if those were display cages, and they had other pens with more space, only bringing one or two to the front at any time, but I'm fairly sure that's not the case. And we definitely don't have a different pet store around.
 

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I have a petco locally and the only thing i've had to buy there was the large bag of aspen that I use. (i'll try to find another way of getting even that after this one is gone) my wheel, cage boxes, decor ,water bottle and cups all came from websites, and I paid less for them. I guess it's all about using sales and coupons to get the best deal. I got my cage off of cragislst, and I order my oxbow in big 20 pound bags from amazon. Everything we actually NEED we can get elsewhere. the crazy overpriced stuff like chews and treats can also be improvised or gotten elsewhere.
I just don't like petco. I feel like their products are vastly overpriced, and they don't stock most of the cages that people actually like to use (my petco doesn't)...which tells me that they don't look out for their customers.
 

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We have a wonderful Petsmart near us. Of course, depending on the time of day, you will also notice that they have "no food at all".

This is because the manager got tired of employees "forgetting" to give them fresh food daily. Every morning all food is removed from the rodent cages. Then after lunch, they get dry food added to the cages. About an hour before closing, they get fresh greens. Fruits veggies and such. Each morning, before they open, all food is removed.

Because they do give fresh greens, they don't want any food left in during the morning hours. Nothing worse than seeing tiny flies in the cages. There's never more than 2 rats in any cage, at one time. Mice never have more than 5.

You often see employees, that work in the small animal section, with a rat on their shoulder. All the small rodents are played with, but only rats are allowed to ride around on their shoulders. Even the rabbits are in an area, where they can be played with. It's rare for a rat to stay in the store, for more than a week. They get purchased very quickly.

So, not all Petsmarts have such horrible conditions. The store near us is pretty amazing. :D
 

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We had a really good mom & pop shop here in Rochester, NY area called Doolittle's. I got aquainted with the when I had my guinea pig, who was a rescue. It was recommended to me by my cousin, who raised show-dogs. She had bought parrots from them. Sadly, hey were doing fine until PetSmart opened down the street. They could not compete. I had not realized they had closed until my guinea pig crossed over the Bridge, and I went there to possibly get a replacement. Sad as they had been in business over 20 years. Then closed within months of big box opening
 

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The Pet Smart by me should have ALL of their pets taken from them and just sell food & merchandise

They are a bunch of assholes! Too many people that just do not give a ****...

This store is the bottom of the Pet Smart company....:mad:
 

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When I was new to the world of rats and didn't know any better, I bought a rat from Petsmart. He turned out to be a very sweet boy who loved me and people very, very much, and lived a long, healthy life.
In hindsight, however, while he was at the petshop he was not cared for very well. I didn't connect with any rats that were in the display cage, so they took me to see their rat "backstock". Basically there were thirteen baby boys stuffed into a container not large enough for one young rat to live comfortably, with no access to water, and their food was spilled out into their bedding. The one I brought home was quite quick to run up my arm and onto my shoulder, and whisper in my ear "Take ME home!" and now I truly understand why he wanted out of there.
 
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