So, through my various trips to pet stores to scout out a good betta shop, I visited (and purchased 3 bettas) at Petco. The last couple of times I was there I was APPALLED at the conditions the bettas were in. Since I couldn't save them all, I wrote an email to their customer service. Below I have copy and pasted my email to them, and their response which I received this evening. I *hope* their response is a form letter for fish complaints, because otherwise it is filled with blatant lies. I am very disappointed and will no longer bring my business (either buying fish or supplies) to a PETCO.
Should I reply to their email or let it go??
I am writing regarding the care that the Betta fish receive in the store in ----, Maine. I have purchased 3 fish within the last 1.5 weeks and the last two times I have been there, there were MANY dead bettas. I personally sorted out the dead bettas the second time I was there because the associates was not checking on them (their response to me was, "You don't need to do that, we throw the dead ones out at the end of the night."). The conditions that these fish were in were HORRIBLE. They should not be dying. It was obvious that too many bettas had been purchased and not all were sold in time, and thus they died. The last time I went, nearly half of the stock was dead. It is VERY disgusting, and horrible the way the fish are neglected. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend anyone buy their bettas at this Petco store. Encouraging people to buy their fish their would only be enabling this type of neglect. PLEASE ask this store to limit there stock of bettas so the fish don't die before they are purchased. Until I find that the bettas are not being neglected, I will be shopping elsewhere.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Thank you for contacting PETCO regarding your concern with our store at -----. We are sorry to hear about your recent experience.
It is obvious that you are a fish enthusiast. I'm sure you know how easily a fish can become sick if they are under any type of stress. Sometimes, stress is unavoidable. However, we are committed to only selling healthy fish to our customers. We monitor our fish during our hourly animal checks to make sure that none are showing signs of stress or sickness. You may even see a sign on a tank that says the fish are under observation. If we see any signs of stress or sickness, we do not sell them until they are healthy. This demonstrates our commitment to you as a customer and our commitment to the well being of fish in our stores.
I have notified the store's general manager your concern for this to be addressed accordingly, we take these kind of comments seriously and rest assured that we will take care of this.
If we can be of any further assistance, please feel free to reply to this communication or call PETCO Customer Relations directly at 1-888-824-PALS (7257). Thank you again for contacting PETCO.
Customer Relations Coordinator
At PETCO, Animals Always Come First... Our People Make it Happen!
To me, it seems like they are stating how they are SUPPOSE to run the fish section at the store. They said they contacted the store in hoping that it will improve.
Now, I guess you can wait to see if any actions are truly taken. Maybe stop back into the store in about a week or two. If nothing has changed, email them again. Continue emailing them until there is a change.
You could also try contacting their corporate office. It will put your local store under the radar and possibly improve their care that way.
Our walmart here is actually VERY good, amazingly... there is one lady who is ALWAYS in the fish section and is somewhat knowledgeable (compared to the avg betta buyer anyway). And they have smaller shipments so they tend to sell their stock before they sit there too long. I would rather give Walmart my money here, than Petco (even tho that sounds backwards!!).
I find that sometimes it helps if you personally talk to the store manager as well as emailing corporate. One of the walmarts near me used to take HORRIBLE care of their bettas, Every time I went in I asked to see the manager and explain to her everything that was wrong. I sent a couple letters to the store, emails and letters and emails to corporate. After a couple months, then cut their usual shipment in half, posted a betta care sheet over the bettas with all of the correct information (including that bettas should be in at least 2 gallons of water with a heater) Persistence can help but you need to make sure it's the right kind, not the kind that will get you kicked out of the store :)
Someone posted a letter on another forum, that was a sample letter to a store manager that you could customize to fit your situation, but it was very professional and well written and she said everyone should feel free to use it, let me see if I can find it
If you are receiving this letter, it is because one (or more) betta(s) (siamese fighting fish) was(were) recently purchased from your store as a rescue. He or she was suffering from one (or several) of the following ailments: fin rot, columnaris, ich, parasitic infection, emaciation, fin biting behavior, swim bladder disease, deformity, or disability. What's more, a test of the water parameters in the container the fish was sold in were found to have stressful or toxic levels of ammonia, nitrate and/or nitrite. While some health problems in fish are inevitable, the combination of the betta's symptoms and the conditions in which he/she was being kept suggest that husbandry while in the store was the primary culprit in the fish's illness. After all, it is well known among fish keepers that poor water quality is the leading cause of illness in fish and other aquatic animals.
Husbandry issues resulting in poor fish health are ethically unacceptable and financially irresponsible. As a business, you can surely see the value of keeping the animals you sell healthy. Stores with lower incidences of diseases will see a smaller die-off, a greater number of fish sold, a fewer number of fish returned (refunded), and a greater number of returning customers. Furthermore, fish who leave the store healthy are more likely to live long, productive life - which means more revenue in the form of aquarium products and future live animal purchases from the pleased customer.
Therefore, it would be in the best interest of your store to reconsider current husbandry practices, particularly the schedule on which your bettas are cleaned. Remember, although bettas are hardy, they are equally as affected by poor living conditions as other fish. Furthermore, though their air-breathing apparatus permits them to be kept in small containers prior to sale, they still produce sufficient waste to dramatically and rapidly lower the water quality if not cleaned frequently.
As a provider of fish to the community, your store has the obligation of setting the standard for fish care before the animals even reach their future homes. When fish are neglected in stores, customers will either react by refusing to shop at such businesses, or will mimic the same neglectful behavior, leading to a short, miserable life for the animal involved. Neither situation is preferable for the business, consumer, or fish itself. Thus, I urge you to please reevaluate your store's policy regarding betta husbandry to promote animal welfare, encourage purchase, decrease losses, attract customers, and further profit.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
You can customize it to fit your location and specific situation.