A Holiday Gift for the Third Most Popular Pet in America

A recent press release from PETCO is cause for celebration as the company announces it will end the sale of rabbits by early 2009 in favor of an all adoption approach.  The end of rabbit sales for this company has been a long time coming and can’t get here soon enough.  

Rabbits are the third most popular pets in the US and (as would logically follow) the third most ‘popular’ pet to wind up in a shelter.  Rabbits offered for sale are often intact leading to accidental births.  Even responsible pet owners seeking to sterilize their pets face roadblocks as it can be difficult to find a veterinarian who offers spaying or neutering services for rabbits.  

This is a big move for PETCO and they have our full support:

PETCO TO OFFER NEUTERED RABBITS FOR ADOPTION ONLY

National Retailer Invites Humane Societies, Rabbit Rescues to Adopt through its Stores

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 17, 2008): PETCO is reaching out to animal-welfare agencies and local rescue groups in an effort to greatly increase the number of rabbits that find forever homes by offering adoptions at its stores nationwide, the company announced today.

PETCO works with rabbit groups in several areas to provide in-store rabbit adoptions, and now wants to expand that effort. In recent years, about a third of the company’s nearly 950 stores have offered neutered rabbits for sale. PETCO expects to phase out the sale of rabbits in favor of adoptions by early 2009. 

“Moving to an all-adoption approach with rabbits is the right thing to do. We believe it’s good for the animals, good for our business and is consistent with our Think Adoption First philosophy in which we encourage prospective pet parents to consider adopting an animal rather than purchasing one,” PETCO CEO Jim Myers said. “Rabbits are great companion animals, and we believe PETCO can play a pivotal role in partnering with animal-welfare groups to connect responsible pet parents with happy, healthy neutered rabbits through in-store adoptions nationwide.”

PETCO already has strong relationships with about 70 rabbit adoption groups – including the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society, the Oregon Humane Society, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, San Diego House Rabbit Society and the Escondido, Calif., Humane Society as well as other groups across the nation. The company is also communicating with the national House Rabbit Society to build additional relationships with local chapters and affiliates.

Marcie Whichard, PETCO vice president of animal care, education and compliance, said rabbits are the third most popular companion animals after dogs and cats. “We’re thrilled with the success of our relationship with our current rabbit group partners in providing forever homes for more and more rabbits. We look forward to reaching out to expand our network of relationships with other groups across the country. By working together - local rescue groups, PETCO and the PETCO Foundation - we can do great things on behalf of homeless rabbits.”

The company said it will partner with local rescue groups to:

- Provide habitat housing for adoptable rabbits in stores;

- Care for adoptable rabbits as part of the company’s industry-leading animal-care procedures to feed and monitor animals housed in PETCO stores; and

- Assist with the adoption of any relinquished rabbits in need of a forever home.

PETCO Foundation Executive Director Paul Jolly expressed support for the company’s shift to offer all-adoptable rabbits.

“This is a wonderful expression of our Think Adoption First philosophy. The PETCO Foundation will do our part to help build relationships with rabbit rescue groups and find forever homes for these lovable animals,” Jolly said. “As rabbits become even more popular as pets, it’s critical that families have access to happy, healthy, neutered rabbits - and PETCO stores provide an important channel to link these great animals with responsible pet parents. I encourage the rabbit-welfare community to help with this very important work to save rabbit lives and find them forever homes.”

Facts about rabbits

- Rabbits generally live from 5 to 12 years.

- They are intelligent, social animals that can become part of the family.

- Rabbits like to be near people and make wonderful companions.

- They are playful and often form close bonds with their pet parents.

- Rabbits can be litter trained.

- They require a great deal of interaction. Daily, supervised playtime and exercise outside of their habitat is necessary.

- As with any companion animal, properly caring for a rabbit requires a pet parent’s daily commitment, time and attention; PETCO recommends that an adult be the primary caretaker for rabbits.

To learn more about PETCO or the PETCO Foundation, visit PETCO.com. For the latest news on anything and everything PETCO - including a video about this news announcement, visit the company’s blog at PETCOnews.com.

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One Response to “A Holiday Gift for the Third Most Popular Pet in America”

  1. [...] seems too good to be true. But proving it’s not only good for pets, but good for business is PETCO’s announcement this month that it will it will stop selling rabbits by early 2009 in favor of working with adoption groups. [...]

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