SAN FRANCISCO — The city has sued the Petco Animal Supplies Inc. for allegedly keeping dead or poorly cared for animals on the shelves at two San Francisco locations.
In a suit filed Tuesday in San Francisco, city attorney Dennis Herrera said inspectors and customers found sick and dead birds, a dead moldy turtle and “cooked” toad at the two Petco locations.
Herrera is seeking a court order blocking Petco stores from selling animals in the city.
“What was most disturbing was the fact that the cruelty and pattern of brazen violations of San Francisco health and safety standards continued over three years,” Herrera said.
Animal Care and Control Capt. Vicky Guldbech said one of the city’s Petco stores occasionally has dead animals in display cases and cages. She conducted the store inspections and blamed many of the store’s alleged shortcomings on an untrained staff.
“The kids who worked there didn’t know the light fixtures (to warm the reptile cages) were turned off, or how to turn them on. The didn’t know how old the food was in the cages,” Guldbech said. “They are untrained young adults who don’t know animal husbandry.”
A Petco spokesman said he was surprised by the city’s lawsuit since the company’s regional managers regularly visit stores to perform spot inspections.
“So I would think if a store was cited for something, it would come up the chain, and we would have some knowledge about it,” he said.
Petco employees reported to city animal control officials that a Bryant Street location Petco store manager ordered them to place dying animals in the freezer.
At the Sloat Boulevard Petco store, city animal officers seized three iguanas and two sickly chameleons. The iguanas were dehydrated and had to be euthanized.
A customer who had visited the Bryant Street store reported toads had “cooked to death” on heated floors of their enclosures which contained no water.
San Diego-based Petco is one of the nation’s largest pet supply retailers.