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Triangle Rabbits Meetup Group Message Board › PetSmart to sell baby dwarf rabbits -- please read

PetSmart to sell baby dwarf rabbits -- please read

Dawn S.
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 24
I received a notice from the House Rabbit Society today (as some of you may have as well) about PetSmart's recent decision to sell baby dwarf rabbits. The HRS has sent a letter to the PetSmart corporate office with their concerns and reasons for the concerns. (It is posted at if you'd like to read it.) I'm including the "what you can do" portion of their message here for anyone who would like to voice their concern to PetSmart headquarters.

What You Can Do Regarding PetSmart's Sale of Rabbits

Please let PetSmart know that you are unhappy with their decision to sell
rabbits in their stores, rather than reach out to more rabbit rescue groups
to expand their rabbit adoption programs. Please send PetSmart a polite
letter or email, or give them a call to let them know of your concerns, via
the contact information below:

Email: http://www.petsmart.c...­
Phone: (800) 738-1385
Fax: (623) 580-6502
Snail mail:
PetSmart, Inc.
19601 North 27th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027

Excerpts from the letter are as follows ....

PetSmart?s proposed sale of rabbits goes against everything that PetSmart
itself claims to stand for. According to the Humane Society of the United
States, rabbits are the third most-frequently relinquished species at
shelters across the country ? a huge, and largely hidden, problem, because
many members of the general public are simply not aware of it.

We have been told that PetSmart is responding to ?market demand:? customers
come into a store looking for rabbits, and PetSmart wants to meet this
demand. What happens if customers come in asking for puppies and kittens?
Will PetSmart let this demand go unmet? Are rabbits less worthy of PetSmart
?s protection than puppies and kittens?

We have been informed that PetSmart made its decision only after consulting
with a team of ?pet care experts.? House Rabbit Society, the largest
repository of rabbit care experts in the world, was never consulted, nor, as
far as we know, was any other rabbit rescue organization. HRS not only has
more information on the demanding levels of care needed by rabbits than your
own staff, but our volunteers know more about the surplus rabbit problem
than any pet store ever could, since they deal with it on a daily basis.

We have also been told that PetSmart selected baby dwarf rabbits as the
?best type of rabbit for a family.? This flies in the face of what most
rabbit rescuers know from experience, and points to how sadly misinformed
PetSmart?s decision is. Baby rabbits ? like baby animals of any kind ? are
more destructive and require much more training and supervision than more
mature animals, and dwarf rabbits are often significantly more skittish and
harder to handle than larger rabbits. Further, dwarf rabbits have a higher
incidence of dental disease due to their small, shortened head shape, and
this can mean expensive veterinary care as often as every other month. And
finally, the pediatric surgeries that are required to produce sale-ready,
baby rabbits may have potentially serious negative health effects.

Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not low-maintenance animals. In
fact, compared to dogs and cats, they are actually high-maintenance pets.
The hundreds of phone calls that we receive every week demonstrate that
people who purchase rabbits at pet stores simply do not attain enough
information on how to care for them, nor do they commit to the ten years or
more that a rabbit will live. While you maintain that your veterinarians
will teach your staff about rabbit care, we know that pet store staff, like
so many service employees throughout this country, are generally short-term
or part-time employees, often teenagers, most of whom have never lived with
even one rabbit, let alone the scores that our volunteers have lived with.
They simply do not have the knowledge, skills, or inclination to properly
educate the public about these complex animals.

There simply is no excuse in this day and age for a company with a
reputation for compassion to continue to sell animals, but especially
animals that are abandoned and euthanized at the rate that dogs, cats, and
rabbits are. For PetSmart to feign ignorance or imply that the deaths of
rabbits do not matter is repugnant to the men and women around the country
who have dedicated their lives to saving these animals.
Kathy M
user 4370699
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 1
Thanks. Jari sent me a copy of the HR letter today, as well. I just e-mailed PetSmart. This is very disturbing news.
A former member
Post #: 2
I wrote this email to PetsMart:

I am 61 years old and I have two rabbits which I got from rescues. There are far too many rabbits in rescues to justify intentional breeding and selling of rabbits in any pet stores. One only has to visit to see how many poor homeless bunnies there are.

Your decision to sell baby dwarf rabbits is irresponsible. I had a dwarf rabbit and in the six months that I owned him he was constantly sick and cost me more than $1000 in Vet bills and then broke my heart when he died. Selling any rabbits is bad enough but to sell dwarfs is unconscionable. They are very prone to genetic dental disease and they tend to be skittish and hard to care for.

Baby bunnies in your stores may sell well to wide-eyed children who are the least likely people to be able to care for a rabbit. Many of the rabbits you would sell will certainly end up in rescues or euthanized. The two that I have chew everything in sight which is probably why many rabbits find themselves homeless. They are a VERY high maintenance animal and are not recommended for children.

You support "Petsmart Charities" and claim that you have saved 3,000,000 animal lives. That may be true but if you continue with your plan to sell Dwarfs in your stores then you should subtract out the thousands of rabbits you will sell that will end up homeless and euthanized.

Your competition "PetCo," sells rabbits in their stores. You could show that you are better than they are, that you are an ethical company, that you refuse to contribute to the demise of thousands of rabbits. PetCo places signs in the area of the rabbits they sell suggesting that people consider adopting a pet, but the truth is that a child will beg their parents for the bunny that they see. They have no concept of waiting and doing "the right thing." That's something you need to do for them by refusing to sell rabbits.

Robert Betts

I'm also sending a copy via snail mail. I believe snail mail gets more attention than email so I'd suggest that others do this too
user 4365460
Apex, NC
Post #: 5
Hi everyone,
Much to my surprise, I received a reply from PetsMart. I have copied the letter they sent me below.

Dear Jeanette,

Thank you for sharing your concerns with us regarding the sale of dwarf rabbits in our stores. We began testing this concept in 40 stores across the country this month. There appears to be some confusion and misinformation circulating about this test, so we appreciate the opportunity to provide some clarification.

It?s important for you to know that, as with any pet we sell in our stores, we began this test only after many months of careful evaluation by a team that included pet care experts and veterinarians. We selected a dwarf variety that we believe will make a great family pet and will create a lifelong bond with its family. As part of this test, we?ll conduct follow-up, random surveys of customers to see how these pets are adjusting.

We are sensitive to the issue of pet populations and animal welfare and took that into consideration when making our decision to sell dwarf rabbits. All rabbits sold through PetSmart will be spayed or neutered before they arrive at the stores. And the retail price of $99.99, we believe, will deter customers from buying this pet on impulse, a practice we strongly discourage.

In addition, we will continue to promote rabbit adoptions in our stores. We partner currently with more than 50 animal welfare organizations that are specifically devoted to rabbits and that conduct adoptions at our stores. We will continue these partnerships as well as continue to add qualified adoption partners.

We take our responsibility seriously when it comes to selling pets. We make sure our associates are well equipped to answer customers? questions about the pet and determine if it?s the right fit. We provide customers with the tools to help them make a responsible decision and to deliver the proper care and attention needed for their pet.

We share your passion for pets and want to assure you we?ll do what?s right for our Pet Parents and their pets. You can also find additional information about dwarf rabbits and our test on our website at <http://www.petsmartfa...­.


Paula Customer Experience
1989 Transit Way
Brockport, NY 14420
Lindsay B.
user 4381972
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 5
Yep, that is the form letter they are sending to everyone. Kimberly got the exact same email and I am sure eventually I will too!!
A former member
Post #: 2
Well- I am a very new bunny owner, so I may not be right here, but....... I am not sure how they are going to sell baby rabbits that are already spayed or neutered. I thought the bunny had to be at least 6 months old for that?

Also- BEFORE I bought my bunny- when I was still looking into it- I went to petsmart to buy supplies. They sold me an incredibly SMALL cage and told me it was perfect for a dwarf bunny. They also sold me a water bottle, Timothy hay, and nutriphase bunny food. All of which I have since discovered is NOT the best for my baby. Thank God I spoke with someone at BunnyMatters and was put in the right direction. I have since built a 6'x2.5' foot cage and use the bottom of the store bought cage as a litter box! I have exchanged the water bottle for a bowl, and the Timothy hay for Alfalfa (though I am going to start mixing the 2). ANYHOW- my point is- the people in the store are NOT educated in this area. They sold me all the WRONG stuff!! -- Also they never told me the bunny should be let out of the cage and that buns dont like to be held.....

UHG- I dont want to shop there now. There is only one other Pet store in my town and I cant go in there b/c they do not take good care of the pets they sell. I suppose I had better start ordering stuff online now!!
A former member
Post #: 3
I got the same identical form letter also. I answered it with a bit more caustic reply and they did not answer. It appears they are just going to toss garbage letters at us and refuse to do anything. I'm going to pay a few visits to the various local petsmarts here, voice my opinion and try not to get arrested :).
Dawn S.
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 25

Contacting the local PetSmart stores may be the way to go. Don't worry. If you get arrested, we'll come down and bail you out! :-)

Dawn S.
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 26
Well- I am a very new bunny owner, so I may not be right here, but....... I am not sure how they are going to sell baby rabbits that are already spayed or neutered. I thought the bunny had to be at least 6 months old for that?


The spaying/neutering too young is addressed in the full letter from the HRS. You are right that this is a real concern. The corporate office can have "pie in the sky" ideals about how they are going to educate employees ... but truth be known I don't expect things will change at all from your experience. And I wonder how long the $99.99 price is going to last -- they will certainly not hesitate to lower it if they are not reaching their sales goals.

Dawn S.
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 44
UPDATE from HRS on PetSmart's decision to sell rabbits .... GOOD NEWS!

Dear friends,

Thanks to your phone calls, letters and emails, we have just
learned that PetSmart is discontinuing the rabbit sale "test"
and will no longer be selling rabbits in any of their stores,
once the remaining rabbits are gone.

This is wonderful news, and is a fantastic Christmas present
to all animal lovers, and especially to all of the rabbit people
who have been active in this campaign. We have heard that it was
because of the vocal opposition of animal lovers across the
United States that they have reconsidered their choice.

Please thank PetSmart for their decision, and let them know
that it was the right choice.

Please address your thanks to PetSmart care of:

John Alpaugh
Vice President, Specialty Merchandising
19601 North 27th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027
(623) 580-6100
email corpcommunications [at]
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