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on the evils of petstores...


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Nov 3, 2004
People lament that pet stores don't treat their animals well: small cages, dirty litter, ignorant staff, lack of food, etc. The animals go to anyone who has the $30 to buy one. They say that you should adopt your piggies from a breeder, rescue, or shelter so that you're not putting more money in the hands of those stores. Adoption centers have screening and forms - they know they're piggies are going to good homes. Pet store piggies are not so lucky. Adoptiong and rescue centers (especially No-Kill centers) treat their animals very well because they have been properly trained to do so.

This is why I think that, if you have the opportunity to buy a store guinea pig, you should do so. This is the real rescue: saving a pig from bad conditions and a potentially bad home. Younger ones, especially, are at risk: small children who don't know any better could very easily squeeze them to death.

Rescuing abandoned older animals from an adoption center is perfectly wonderful and I'm not trying to lecture anyone for doing so. I just think that young animals kept in cold, unhealthy pet store cages deserve to be saved just as much.
I agree that the animals deserve to be saved as much as you do.

However, there is one problem: even if you are "rescuing" the pig, you've just condemned future generations of cavies, because they still succeeded in their goal: to get as much money as possible. You just made a sale, regardless. And thus, you are supporting the entire operation, pet store, breeder, and all.

If you really want to help, send letters to the manager, talk to employees, and see what you can do to get the animals out of the stores permanently.
I totally agree with you, lilipution. Some of us do not have access to rescues and I feel the same as far as "rescuing" from a pet store. To think of my Cujo in the home of someone who wouldn't give him all the love and care he gets from me really upsets me. Whenever i see a piggie in a store my heart breaks and I want to "save" him. Breeders will always do what they do and someone needs to save the bred piggies and that is how I feel.
Rescuing abandoned older animals from an adoption center is perfectly wonderful and I'm not trying to lecture anyone for doing so. I just think that young animals kept in cold, unhealthy pet store cages deserve to be saved just as much.
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"I totally agree with you, lilipution. Some of us do not have access to rescues and I feel the same as far as "rescuing" from a pet store."

Tell me, who doesn't have access to a rescue? This is one of the major problems that keeps these pet stores in business: our need for convenience. Just by spending an extra ten or twenty minutes, you can be really adopting vs. just paying the breeders. Please think about that.

"To think of my Cujo in the home of someone who wouldn't give him all the love and care he gets from me really upsets me. Whenever i see a piggie in a store my heart breaks and I want to "save" him."

I agree that all pigs should get homes, but if you buy them then you're just continuing the cycle and contributing to the piggies in shelters by not taking them in.

"Breeders will always do what they do and someone needs to save the bred piggies and that is how I feel."

You can save more than just the few you can take care of by writing letters and taking action. Thus, "rescuing" is not saving as many piggies as this would, and there will be more to come.
As was said in a previous post - everyone is entitled to their opinion. If you feel it is okay to try to make me feel badly for my opinions - well good for you. There are NO rescues anywhere in my area. All the shelters are over crowded with doogs and cats and none have any guinea pigs. If there were a rescue anywhere nearby I would adopt and donate- but there isn't.
I honestly didn't mean anything to hurt your feelings, and all the posts are not meant to attack you personally or anything, I'm just saying these things for the general topic, not against you. I'm sorry if you feel that way.

There are two listings in the classifieds on (broken link removed), one in Copenhagen and one in Brooklyn. Other rescues listed there:

Redwood RescueN. NY & Ontario Watertown/
Kingston Area/
Kathy Nelson
[email protected]

(broken link removed)
Upstate NY/
Near Watertown/
Tracie Ritchie[email protected]
There are also several cavies listed on petfinder in your region. There are some from Middle Island, and there are also some from close states.

There are also several listed on the classifieds.

(broken link removed) shows you a list of shelters in your area.
As consumers we create demand with our purchases, if you buy a pig from a store you are creating the market. If no one bought pigs from the stores, the stores would stop. If everyone buys their pigs from the stores, the stores get even more pigs and the problem becomes worse. You have to think long-term, you can't trade a short-term gain (saving one pig) in exchange for a long-term atrocity. If you do, it's selfishness on your part and nothing else.
Rescues are no-kill, but rescues across the country for every breed and type of animal are full. There is only so much space especially when there are a lack of qualified homes.

There are more animals than there are good homes. That is a fact, yet you want to support more breeders.

Most shelters are not no kill (which means guinea pigs can and are euthanized if they even take them), and even the ones that are turn away adoptable animals so they can afford to care for the ones that are older and maybe not so adoptable, or vice versa.

I don't know if you've ever stepped inside your local animal shelters, but the ones around here have employees that don't care so much for animals. They are ill equipped to deal with small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. Some do not get fed at all if volunteers do not go in and take care of them.

If you adopt from a rescue, you are providing a loving forever home and allowing the rescue to take in another guinea pig. They get their animals from animal shelters. They rarely take private surrenders. They have to prioritize ones on death row. So where exactly are the no kill shelters?

Why don't you look on the main page of cavyspirit.com? There are guinea pigs in danger of being put to sleep because they are in overcrowded shelters.

The only way I can see as 'buying' a guinea pig from a pet store is to get it for free or make them pay for any vet bills if he or she is sick.

Are you going to 'save' all the guinea pigs by buying every single one, that is what you mean, right? Saving one out of the thousands that the pet mill produces doesn't really help since they breed several more to take its place.

Also, it seems you only want young guinea pigs. There are plenty of young and baby guinea pigs in shelters and rescues. People buy guinea pigs that turn out to be pregnant or get mis sexed pairs and dump them. Three of my adopted four were babies. One was 2 months old, two were about 4 weeks old. My other one was about 1 year old.

That they were abandoned has nothing to do with them personally. In fact, it says more about their owners than them. The surrender forms usually say 'moving,' too many, owner ill, children bored, etc.
The only prblem I have is this. If those who hate breeding were successful in their quest, then noone would ever breed again, meaning we can only enjoy these wonderful creatures for another 5 years or so. Where is that line drawn as to when it is OK to breed.
My sweet peachy is from a petco they actually take care of their cages at ours every week twice a week i go in there on the same days and they are playing with or cleaning the cages peach is healthy and happy.
There maybe some pet stores that really look after all the animals and clean them too. I went to petsmart by my place and I never saw a sick animal at all and they always have them divided by there sexes the only thing I saw wrong at petsmart was that they had a lil too many in one unit. I asked a girl about that and she said that when they got the animals the people gave them too many that they could take so they had no choice but take them and they sell them on sale to open up spaces. I have gone to a pet store where the animals look bad or not taken care of.
It's what you don't see that is the problem. IF they do take care of their animals, never mis sex them or sell pregnant ones, sell them to good homes, provide medical care, care for them correctly, sell only good products (big cages, no wire bottoms, no pellet mixes), promote only good products (i.e. no running balls), then they STILL get their animals from pet mills.

Do you know what those are? They breed guinea pigs en mass without regard for health or conditions. Petco gets theirs from Kelly's, which is under investigation by the USDA. Petsmart gets them from similar pet mills.

(broken link removed)

Warning: graphic
The only 'good' petstores are the ones that don't sell animals. Just because a pet store seems to treat animals well today doesn't mean they'll continue to do so. The best pet stores realise that an animal constitutes at best a one-time sale, while supplies -- food, bedding, hay, etc. is something owners buy on a regular basis. So they don't bother with selling animals, they make a better profit on the consumables and send people who want a pet to a shelter or rescue.
There's a pet store in a town near by mine, and it's the only place I will shop at. They only sell fish...and they're fish actually look great. The staff there is real friendly and knowledgable about animals. There's another store across town that's a different story however =( They sell dogs, cats, guinea pigs, reptiles, bunnies, birds, etc. Even if the store I shop at doesn't carry something, and I know the bad place does, I'll go without. They basically know nothing about their animals and how to properly take care of them...it's sad. I've complained to them before, but they haven't changed.
Everyone in the NY area:

The Petco in Waterford, CT is going to display adoptable guinea pigs this Saturday. It is only an hour and a half from the NYC metro area. Just look in petfinder.com and click on some of the pet shelter links. That is how I found the information. Is anyone going there to take a look?
jhoban, that is just not a valid argument today. It's not going to happen overnight. Also, if that does eventually happen, then there is a definition for a responsible breeder. This is not, however, in effect today because there is just no excuse to breed while there are so many other unwanted pets. However, once there are not (if that happens), there will be a chance for those truly loving these animals to breed responsibly. This definition is explained at https://www.cavyspirit.com/responsiblebreeder.htm. However, in today's day and agge that battle is yet to be won.

Animalhut210, that's just great that that particular store takes good care of their animals. However, we must remember that things can change. Also, you are still supporting all of the other parts of that chain store, whether or not they take good care of their animals.

AngelsCavies, those are the usual pet stores--they don't usually take good care of their cavies. That's why we can't buy from them.

rabbitsncavyluv, I totally agree. They still get them from bad sources, so it's never justifiable.

Sofiemuffins, I'm glad you've found one that seems to be good. I hope that it truly is, and I also hope that it's an independent store that gets their stock from reputable sources. I'm sorry about the other store, but that's the majority of stores today.

Rocinante, that's awesome that the Petco is showing adoptable piggies! I hope that they all get adopted. However, it really doesn't help if they continue selling themselves.
the story of my pig

I bought my gp in a pet store,which I will never step in the shop again.When I was choosing,I saw a black and brown pig that looks really cute.So I paid for it and go home.
The pig looks sorta shy so i decided not to pick it up the first few days.

When I finally pick it up,I saw a patch of crust that all the hair had fallen off.In fact,the patch was quite big.I took the pig back and show them.All the workers was very defensive.they said that all their pigs was being taken care of very well and said that it was my fault instead.

I left the shop not wanting to argue and headed straight to the vet.I spend around $50 on each visit.luckily,now pig is a healthy and cheerful pig!!
I wont get any piggies from the pets stores any ways. I had to get rid of 2 one is a male Loner who dont get along with the boys and my neice has him (Scruffy) also I now just had to give my neice's mom Muffy who is Scruffy's sister that my neice has. Muffy goes and attacks everyone in the cage. also Muffys 3 babies back in September is just like her and their dad Scruffy. I am gonna miss Muffy.They are picking her up today when my neice and nephew comes over to spend the night. Their mom is having a emotional problems and she asked if she could have a piggie of her own. Her 3 kids have their own piggie and she is getting Muffy tonight.
I guess I want to throw my 2 cents in here...not to offend anyone but...Reality jumps in and says there is always always going to be pet stores selling pets. Many people, including myself and others, are ignorant of rescue centers, the need for C&C cages and such and until AFTER they buy their piggies. I for one never even thought of it until I started searching the web for the best way to take care of them and thats because I am very sensitve to my pets, not all people are like this so they will never look. Do I feel bad for getting my piggies from a pet store? Not at all as they need proper care as much as any others. I would try to rescue more if I did get them but feel no guilt about "rescuing" them from the petstore if I have no other options. Telling people on the forums/internet accomplishes little in the long run, the people who already care enough about their pets are probably going to find this information and do something but most others will not. I posted in another thread a basic example of a way to create a change in pet stores and just not buying pets from their stores will not and is not working for the reasons I stated above. Here is the thread I posted in with a very basic example of making a change...this is the only way its going to happen really.

John, as one who has invested a life savings in rescue and trying to get people to change, I have to take issue with some of your comments.

First of all, I've written this many times, in many ways, and I'll write it again. You can think what you want about that animal that you "purchased" at the pet store--even if you "purchased" it at a 100% discount. Regardless of what YOU think about your actions, you ARE a CUSTOMER to the store. No more, no less. You are not a "rescuer." You are not "rescuing." Not by a long, long shot. You do a huge disservice to those of us who, in fact, are rescuing, by claiming that your actions are 'rescuing' that animal. You are just part and parcel of the on-going problem that the animal activists and welfarists are trying to put the brakes on.

I appreciate your other post about 'a' way to make change, but you need to appreciate that it's not the only way. And on your previous post you state: "You'll never get pet stores to stop selling pets and pet supplies and to try is futile. You have to approach the issue from a perspective that seems to give them a benefit in doing what you desire."

First of all, noone is suggesting that pet stores stop selling pet supplies. And because of public pressure brought to bear from activists and rescues and the like, the big chains no longer sell cats and dogs in their store. Some no longer sell rabbits--due to pressure from the HRS and their efforts.

The comment "to try is futile" just makes me angry. I'm so sick of that lay down mentality. It's hopeless. Give it up. My vote doesn't count, so why bother. Good grief. You can't honestly believe that.

"Telling people on the forums/internet accomplishes little in the long run, the people who already care enough about their pets are probably going to find this information and do something but most others will not."

More defeatist talk. Geez Louise. I also bought my first guinea pig at a pet store. Now look. A little basic research later told me there were pigs in shelters. 'No, really?' And a rescue was born and the rest is I guess an unfolding history. I've helped rehome over a 1000 and helped get I don't know how many in better environments and helped enlighten I have no clue how many people about the issues. That's just me. Take me, multiply by a whole lot of other people.

Perhaps you haven't noticed, but every day, the internet becomes more and more mainstream. Telling and talking and sharing things on the internet, does in fact, help. It helps IMMENSELY. Look at the new media devices that Microsoft is pitching. Internet on the TV. Times continue to change. No doubt, being strapped to your keyboard to post and read stuff on the net will seem like horse and buggy days in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, we keep spreading the word. We make the sites that have it RIGHT about the issues more popular than the lame sites and forums that support pets and animals as commodities.

Every person that buys their animal in a pet store and THEN comes here to learn about the right way and makes a C&C cage and hopefully now KNOWS that there are guinea pigs and other small furries in the shelters and rescues, is one more person in the grassroots system of change.

Every C&C cage (or large cage) owner out there becomes a ROLE MODEL for every person they see and touch. Family and friends. Every person that FINALLY gets the message that adopting ONE is SAVING at LEAST two guinea pigs, where as buying from a pet store is KILLING at least two guinea pigs, will help spread that message to their family and friends.

Don't believe the math?

Do you think all the rescues and shelters (Humane Societies, SPCAs, etc.) have the mantra Save a LIFE, Adopt! for their health? No. Because it's true.

Guinea pig "A" at shelter or at rescue. Sitting in a cage. Taking up space, time, resources, volunteer energies.
Guinea pig gets adopted. Cage space, time, resources, volunteer energy now go to guinea pig "B" in need.

Guinea pig "C" is purchased at a pet store. Guinea pig "A" runs out of time--no adopter. Guinea pig "A" is killed. Store's sales up, buys two more from distributor ("D" & "E") to replace "C." Guinea pig "D" is sold (where were you to 'rescue' that guinea pig?). Guinea pig "B" runs out of time for lack of an adopter and is killed.

And on it goes. In addition to the direct consequences are the indirect and spiraling consequences. When the rescues work with the shelters (like we and many others do), then when we are ABLE to get pigs adopted out, it tells the shelters to be a little more lenient with the time if at all possible, because, hopefully sooner or later, we'll be able to pull them or get them adopted out. The shelters start to feel easily overwhelmed and give up when they don't have rescues behind the scenes supporting them. That is why many, many shelters don't "take them in." Oh, they take them in alright. They are just put down immediately. They have no facilities for adoption--or manpower or knowledge.

Then there is the behind the scenes aspect of the pet trade that you are supporting by buying from the stores.

If you haven't throroughly read the pages and watched the video of this distributor, I strongly suggest you do so: (broken link removed). They are NOT an isolated case.

An increase in sales from the pet store is also a signal to the distributors and then to the breeders that more are needed. In the scheme of things, how the pet store takes care of their animals is a moot point. You all have no idea what these breeder's facilities are like. No flippin' clue. You think that it's the so-called 'responsible' breeders who are supplying the 'commodities' to the pet stores? Think again.

Some of the pro-pet store posts on here make me think of people buying into the cheese and dairy happy cow commercials. Yup, milk and cheese are good, and cows are happy in green pastures talking and singing to each other.

Every person makes a difference in animal's lives every day by where they shop and what they buy (and what they eat). Rationalize your decisions all you like. I certainly can't change that. But, I will not sit down and roll over with a defeatist attitude that every one of us can't make a difference. We can, we do, we are. It's just what kind of difference you are making.

Yes, there are more organized things to do. And yes, they would be and are good. I've gone down the path of many of them and continue to do so. But that doesn't mean that everyone can't do little things and be responsible for their own actions and decisions.

I'm sure that's too long for anyone to read. So, I guess I'd better stop.

And John, none of this is personal, just discussing the issues. Thanks for your post.
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