He was rescued from PETCO by a compassionate animal lover who knows that it’s important never to be silent. When she first spotted him, he could barely breathe and was literally gasping for every breath:
Despite reporting his condition to the manager, nothing had been done to help him when she checked back later, so she purchased him (and was later reimbursed by PETCO) and rushed him to a nearby vet’s office. Ricky was diagnosed with a chronic respiratory condition that is commonly found in animal-breeding facilities because of unhealthy living conditions. Luckily, Ricky was saved and nursed back to health by his new foster mom … ME!
But many animals aren’t so lucky.
Most people know that buying dogs supports puppy mills, so adopting cats and dogs is always the way to go. Yet there are tons of other animals living in terrible conditions similar to those at puppy mills, including rats with distinct personalities like Ricky, mice, hamsters, and other small animals. The companies that provide these animals to pet stores care more about profit than the animals’ health or well-being.
Ever hear of U.S. Global Exotics? Probably not, but it was one of the largest exotic animal dealers in the country … until PETA exposed the horrifying conditions, filth, and death at its facility.
In December 2012, PETA’s investigation into Global Captive Breeders revealed such intense cruelty—including the mistreatment, neglect, massive suffering and death of the more than 16,000 rats, mice, snakes, lizards, and other animals kept there—that the company’s owner and former manager were slapped with 223 counts of federal cruelty-to-animals charges! This investigation also went down as the largest seizure of rats in U.S. history as well as the single largest seizure of animals in California ever.
I was onsite with PETA to assist with the rescue, and amid the horrors that I and other PETA volunteers saw, the memory of one little guy in particular stays with me to this day. I found him in a tub with more than 200 other rats. He was wet and shivering, probably suffering from hypothermia like some of the other animals there, and he was extremely lethargic.
When we offered the rats food and fresh water, most of them eagerly ran toward it. Who knows when the last time they ate was? But this little guy just sat there, barely moving. Sadly, we couldn’t save him, but I never forgot him or any of the other animals there.
YOU have the power to stop these tragedies! WE can be a voice for animals and take action to end the suffering of all animals, from cuddly dogs to curious rats to snakes covered with beautiful scales. The first step?
Make your voice (and your ca$h) count, and never buy animals from breeders or pet stores. Adopt from your local shelter! Most of them have more than just cats and dogs—many have rabbits, hamsters, rats, and even birds who need a forever home.