October 1 2009,


Most of you know about PETCO and their saltwater fish problems. It is no secret. For years, PETCO has had a real problem keeping saltwater fish and livestock alive. I’m not sure why they have this problem. It’s not exactly rocket science to keep basic water parameters in check, feed the fish and do water changes.

The sad fact that PETCO as a corporation can’t do this. They don’t know how. They can’t keep local talent long enough to train them properly which results in saltwater fish dying in store. They normally arrive at the local PETCO branch in so-so condition, but then while at the store they die a slow and painful death.

Picture evidence is great and here is some of it:

Images: Dustin Crosby

Images: Dustin Crosby

Those pictures were taken by Dustin Crosby. He was concerned, after all who wouldn’t be with PETCO’s saltwater fish problems. So he took it upon himself to email PETCO to let them know about it. What did PETCO say in response?

Dear xxxxxxxx,

Thank you for contacting PETCO regarding your concern with our store at 936 W SHAWNEE ST.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain how much companion animals mean to us and how we care for them. We are dedicated to ensuring that all animals receive more than just the basics to survive. Our animal care standards ensure that all animals are checked on every hour. During that check, we observe the health and behaviors of animals, refill food & water, and tidy up as needed. This is in addition to the regular full service feeding and cleaning schedule that all animals receive daily. PETCO associates treat our animals as if they were their own pets, often spending great amounts of time playing with, talking to and socializing the animals so they will make good pets for their new owners.

We also invest a great deal of time hiring associates who not only love animals but also share our passion for their well-being and quality of life. We have developed industry-leading practices; training programs and animal-specific care information to educate our associates and customers on excellent care standards. They provide the direction needed so that our associates (and new pet owners) know and understand the high standards we expect regarding appropriate animal care. It is our goal to provide as much help and knowledge to our associates as possible. In the end, this ensures our companion animals receive the highest level of care.

If you have personally witnessed a situation in a particular store that you believe may fall short of our very high standards, please contact us with specific information. We want to know the store location, date, and a detailed description of the situation as well as the action taken by PETCO management when you alerted them of your concerns. By giving us this type of detailed information, we can act immediately to investigate and take whatever action is necessary to resolve the problem.

I have shared your concern with the General Manager of this location and can assure you that they will be addressed with the concern you raised.

Please know that we care about our customers and what they think of us. By letting us know when we fall short of your expectations, we have the opportunity to address your concerns and to be better prepared to meet your expectations in the future. If we can be of any further assistance, please feel free to reply to this email or call PETCO Customer Relations directly at 1-888-824-PALS (7257). Thank you again for contacting PETCO.


Carrah R.
Customer Relations Coordinator

At PETCO, Animals Always Come First… Our People Make it Happen!

I then wrote:

Hi Carrah, did you look at the link I provided you? Do you see the condition of the pinktail trigger or yellow tang, or dead blue hippo tang?

“Our animal care standards ensure that all animals are checked on every hour”

If that were true, that pink tail trigger wouldn’t be white nor would that dead fish look the way it does. Do you know what a pink tail trigger should look like? Attached is a picture of a healthy one….

Thanks, xxxxxxxxxx

The response:

Dear xxxxxxxxx,

Thank you for contacting PETCO.

Yes, and I can tell that the fishes were dead. I apologize if we failed you about it. Again, I have forwarded this concern to the General Manager of the store for them to make action about it as soon as possible.

Thank you again for contacting PETCO.


Carrah R.
Customer Relations Coordinator

At PETCO, Animals Always Come First… Our People Make it Happen!

Needless to say this problem with their saltwater fish isn’t going to go anywhere. PETCO responded with the default-standard response that their email management systems have pre-loaded. They don’t care.

The best that we can do is to stop buying saltwater fish from their stores, don’t buy the fish to “save” them. Let them die. Hopefully PETCO will get the message and stop stocking saltwater fish.


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