Herrera’s Lawsuit Against Petco Charges Animal Mistreatment, Seeks to End Sales in S.F.

Pet supply retailer has ignored City citations and warnings involving scores of animal deaths because of illegal treatment

City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued Petco Animal Supplies today alleging cruel and illegal treatment of animals at the company’s San Francisco stores.

The suit seeks a court injunction prohibiting San Francisco animal sales by Petco, a San Diego-based specialty retailer of pets, pet food, supplies, and services.

“Petco has proven that it is not capable of caring for the animals it sells in a humane manner. If they can’t treat living things with care and consideration, they sure shouldn’t be in the business of selling pets,” Herrera said.

The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges Petco has ignored citations and warnings by city health inspectors since 1999 that the company’s San Francisco stores are responsible for scores of animal deaths due to illegal treatment.

It charges Petco with engaging in unfair business practices, creating a public nuisance, and failing to obtain a city permit. It also outlines numerous documented violations, including instances of dead and dying animals kept in cramped and unclean cages at Petco’s two locations in the city, 1685 Bryant and 1591 Sloat.

“Petco is breaking the law,” Herrera said. “It has ignored the repeated efforts of our animal control officers to enforce San Francisco’s health and safety standards. Petco management has failed to correct the company’s sanitation problems and to properly train its employees in the care of live animals. The Petco stores are a public nuisance, and the problem has reached a point where the city’s only option to protect the public health is to sue.”

The violations cited in the suit include instances of sick and dying animals kept in a freezer, toads cooked to death on the heated floors of their enclosures, animals with untreated contagious illnesses, other animals living in crowded and unsanitary enclosures without water, cages overcrowded with mice, freezers filled with dead birds and reptiles, and numerous dead fish in display tanks.