Warning: This post describes injuries sustained by furry, cute bunnies. Stop reading if you have a weak stomach, or are a card-carrying member of PETA - if you're a PETA member, I'm sure you've already read about it on THEIR blog.
Have you all heard about the Akron, OH Petland employee who drowned two rabbits in the store?
And had the store manager take pictures of her smiling, holding the sodden critters?
And then posted the pictures on Facebook?
Can you say "incredibly stupid"?
Can you say "career ending"? Can you say "criminal record"?
The employee has been charged with cruelty to animals. But I think the cruelty started earlier.
The two rabbits lived in crowded quarters in the store. They began fighting and eating each other. Both rabbits suffered horrible injuries, including deep wounds all over, one had an eye missing. Store staff suspected a broken jaw, and paralysis from the waist down.
I think the initial cruelty charge lies with Petland. It's obvious that the animals' living conditions in the store were horrendous. And I fear that most pet stores are pretty much the same - trying to fit too many animals into a small, enclosed space. No room to roam, no fresh air. No sunshine. Maybe they intentionally crowd them to make tenderhearted folks want to take the poor things home to a better life.
Nahh, it's all about the money. Greed, pure and simple. The exact same motivation that creates puppy mills.
I must tell you that I am NOT a PETA member. I am not even a pet lover. We have a cat, I don't pay much attention to her, but I do make sure that she has food, water, and a clean litter box. I just don't feel a lot of affection toward her - or any pet.
I blame my mother. When I was a kid, we had several pets who came into our lives over the years...and left in the backseat of my mother's car when they became an inconvenience. She actually would drive them into the country and dump them.
Since then, I have never gotten close to any pet. It just wasn't worth the emotional turmoil that occurred when I'd walk in the door from school, and another beloved pet was gone.
But that hasn't made me be cruel to pets - I just basically ignore their existence.
And I don't think my mother's attitude is all that uncommon - folks enthusiastically bring cute, furry critters home, assuming they'll be valued members of the family (although most don't go to the lengths my mom did).
Then reality sets in. They have accidents on the carpets, they chew shoes, they climb curtains. They bark when you're trying to sleep. The thrill is gone. But today, it's less likely that they'll dump them in the woods (though I bet folks who live in the country will dispute that, as they find stray animals roaming over their property).
Now, they post Craigslist ads or send emails to Yahoo groups, requesting that someone - ANYONE - take this pet off their hands. If all else fails, they take the animal to the shelter, in hopes that someone will adopt it. If the pet is lucky, it's a no-kill shelter.
I know that most pet owners are not that fickle. They love and respect their pets, and treat them as a member of the family (some even treat the pets better than the two-legged members). According to Business Week, Americans spend $41 BILLION each year on their pets. Easy to see why pet stores cut corners to maximize profit.
I think that this puppy mill/pet store cruelty will continue until potential pet owners expect more - and when the authorities close down operations that use inhumane (ironic, I know) means to breed and sell pets.