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Iowa Pet Shop Watch
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Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in Iowa Pet Shop Watch's LiveJournal:

Thursday, April 13th, 2006
12:56 pm
Well.. this community seems to be dead, but...

I went to our local pet shop yesterday to check out different things for rabbits, bettas, and of course birds. I don't buy from there because 1) the owner was bragging about his baboon that he sold to someone in Arkansas as a "stud." 2)It’s dirty, dusty, smelly. 3) Proper care is never given to the animals, and finally, 4) He preaches Christianity to customers. I go in there to look to see new things to look for on-line. The only good thing about him is that he offers organic/holistic dog foods.

I went into the bird room are there are new birds there (ARGH), and I hear screaming baby cockatiels. I looked in the cage, and this baby cockatiel was cowering in the corner. I peeked around the edge of the cage, and this baby has a HUGE bloody spot (thing quarter sized) on his breast. Of course there was only one person working, and when I asked if he could help me, he said that I would have to wait. I flipped out, and I made a scene saying that you have a baby cockatiel that is bleeding and no, that cannot wait. So I show he whips around and heads to the cage. It took him forever to find the right cage that had the baby cockatiels in it (there are two with babies in it and this particular cage has 2 cockatiels and 3 lovebirds), I finally pointed it out to him.

He starts grabs the bird, which is panicking, and starts poking the bloody spot. He says, “It looks dry to me.” I got pissed and told him to look at his finger, and it had blood on it. He goes, “Ok, little guy, you need to go in your own cage.” He puts it in a small cage (a split stack cage that’s MAYBE 9x9x10) with no food or water. He doesn’t take it to the back, doesn’t do ANYTHING. He could tell I was irritated, and took it out and put it in the incubator with the 2 cockatoos that are hand feeding. At least he would get noticed there later when it came time to handfeed, and yes, the cockatiel was safe from the ‘toos.

I went back in to look at the beeps where the cockatiel had came from, and I noticed a little lovebird that was standing funny on the edge of the food dish. This baby was young enough that his little beaker was still partially black and the full color wasn’t in yet. I reached in and picked him up, and HE HAD NO TOENAILS. I flipped him on his back, and he stuck his legs out stick straight toward his tail. I was checking out the toes, and even though I could not get him to open his feet, there were no scars and no remnants of the end of the digit whatsoever. Is this a birth defect or what? The other 2 were fine. He could perch like normal.

As I was walking out of the store, I saw a large beautiful koi that had jumped out of the indoor “water garden” and met his demise. I was so disgusted by the time I left.

x-posted to parrot_lovers
Monday, October 31st, 2005
10:30 pm
The Ark
Has anyone ever said anything about The Ark Pet Shop in Ames? It's really gross in there. Some of the animal's most basic needs are not met (Dust baths for the chinchillas, hay for the rabbits, fresh food for the parrots, and sometimes clean water is not even available for them).
Thursday, September 29th, 2005
11:29 am
to the owner of this community kaleboy: i think this is a great thing you are doing...to be a protector for those who cannot protect themselves.

to the readers of this community...i think we should all try to get more active in trying to find ways to help animals that are being mistreated in pet stores. there are lots of things that individuals can do...feel free to ask me if you need ideas.
also...i am hearing very preliminary info on a new group forming in iowa city. it's goal will be to inform the public about the pet store issues. if the founders of the group don't mind, i will post more about it as i find out.
Thursday, August 11th, 2005
10:35 pm
Sunday, July 3rd, 2005
8:49 pm
Pet Shop Tests
Okay, these are coming along pretty well. The goal here is to have specialist tests which are more detailed (for people who run or work in specific areas) and then general tests for cashiers, people who simply clean cages, etc.

Anybody have any thoughts on how exactly to do this? I'm thinking that we require that the results are made public or something, even if we don't use the names of specific individuals. So you can look at Pet Shop A and see that 50% of employees passed whereas 100% passed at Pet Shop B or such. Of course, we want a system that gets people to volunteer to take them, so... would this work in that respect?

Initially, I'm thinking that we just test this on Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, since this is where I am located. Thoughts?
Monday, March 28th, 2005
6:56 pm
Pet laws
Okay, I thought that I would post a few of the relevant parts of Iowa Law here, so people know for what to watch. One thing that is a problem is that many pet shops don't have state licenses, as well as the fact that the state inspectors don't know a thing about most pets. When I applied for my pet shop license, rather than looking to see if I had any prohibitted animals, the inspector simply asked me if I did and then signed the form.

162.2 Definitions. (Definition of Pet Shop):
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(in the following, secretary refers to the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture)

162.5 Pet shop license.
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162.12 Denial or revocation of license or registration.
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In addition to the federal endangered species list (Which most pet shops follow with no problems), there are also the Iowa lists, many of which can be found in pet shops unfortunately. Keep an eye out for them, particularly the reptiles and amphibians. If you need help identifying reptiles and amphibians, check out this site.

571—77.1(481B) Definitions. (Protected species)
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77.2(1) Endangered animal species:
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77.2(2) Threatened animal species:
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77.2(3) Special concern animal species:
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717B.3 Animal neglect.
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4:28 pm
PetCo again:
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Somebody made a comment to me the other day in real life about the health of bettas and they clearly didn't understand the situation, so let me explain it in case others don't understand.
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Sunday, March 27th, 2005
1:54 pm
Pet Shop Employee exams
Okay, here's an idea which a few of us had a couple years ago that never got off the ground. I realise that only a handful of people read this at the moment, but I'm hoping that will change. What some of my friends and I suggested was coming up with tests over pet care that we administer to the employees of pet shops in Iowa, with the agreement that the results become public info. Then we put the info on a website, perhaps contact local papers, etc. We also include info on shops which we solicited who decided against their employees taking the tests. Initially, we had talked about a single exam, but after having worked in the testing industry, I think that having different types of tests. Have a reptile test, an amphibian test, a dog test, a cat test, a freshwater fish test, a marine fish test (I'd probably need help writing this one), a bird test, etc. and they can choose to take as many or as few as they wish.

I suggest changing the questions frequently and even allowing pet shops access to past tests, if they wish to use them in their hiring process or such.

As people find this post, please comment on whether or not this would be something you are interested in doing, assuming that you live in Iowa. I want a bunch of people doing it, as I just applied for a job in Liberty, MO today, which I doubt that I will get, as I want to stay in Iowa for a couple more years if I can find a decent job near my parents, but I do have family in Liberty too, so there is a chance that I will be leaving.

Current Mood: creative
Saturday, March 26th, 2005
6:29 pm
Coralville Pet Shops
Well, I hit the shops in Coralville Iowa. I didn't make it to GenX Pets, but the two fish stores that I visited seemed to have everything in order, with the exception of carrying species which don't breed (or rarely breed) in captivity. One of these days I need to ask about their suppliers though, so I can research how the wild-caught fish are caught. In some cases, they poison streams so that the fish float to the surface and then the ones that survive are shipped to the states for the pet trade. "Ideally", this is done with rotenone, which while deadly to aquatic insects, kills relatively few of the fish when used properly.
Friday, March 25th, 2005
1:23 pm
Wasn't sure if anybody else did this or not, but I thought that we could coordinate our efforts if others did.

Today I went to PetCo Store #643 in Marion, Iowa. While conditions had improved, I did notice a few problems.

Two animals were mislabeled:

  • A minor mislabeling in the fish department. Pseudotropheus crabro was listed as pseudotropheus crabo (missing an 'r') which could make it slightly more difficult for somebody to find information on the species. I have pointed this out in the past, but since it is a fancy label, they don't want to mess it up by putting the correction up there.

  • A ribbon snake label stated the latin name of the species was Thamnophis sauritus. WHile this is in fact the latin name for one species of ribbon snake, this was not the species which could be found in the aquarium. Unfortunately, I was not able to identify the species of Thamnophis which they had for certain, but it was most certainly not a sauritus.

    Three species of animals were in poor health:

  • Two white mice were seriously malnourished. I am uncertain if they are not being fed well, are not eating due to stress, or if they have a spirometrid or some other sort of tapeworm, but they were very skinny.

  • One leopard gecko was severely malnourished. While the leopard gecko is usually okay with others of its own species (with the exception of adult males), there were a large number crowded into this tank. It is likely that the animal is either too stressed to eat or that there is too much competition for food and it is unable to get any of the food before it is all eaten.

  • The fire-bellied toads are in a bigger tank than they were a couple years ago, but they are still overcrowded and around 30% seem sick. These frogs produce a toxin and can not be kept in crowded conditions. I would not suggest more than 3 or 4 to a 10 gallon tank for permenant conditions and certainly never more than 10 for temporary conditions. There were at least 15 or 20 at PetCo.

    Several fish were dead:

  • Two dead mollies
  • One dead pleco
  • One dead pictus catfish
  • One dead fish which could not be identified

    Bad info?:

    A customer came in for a water test and the employee gave a suggested pH level without knowing what type of fish the customer had. If the customer had, for example, Lake Malawi cichlids, such as the ones directly behind the counter, they would have needed a much more alkaline pH than the employee suggested.

    Lack of proper foods:

  • When I asked about a suitable food for my Pseudotropheus Acei, a fish sold by PetCo, the employee suggested a cichlid food intended for carnivorous cichlids. Aceis are algae-eaters. The only non-sinking vegetable matter which they sold was kelp and other tough marine algaes, which are far from the ideal food. Spirulina algae flakes or one of Omega's heavy vegetable cichlid foods would be better, but this PetCo store does not carry them.

    I have yet to make my rounds to the other local pet shops, but I will post when I do.
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