Watchdog Exposes Pets At Home
The popular BBC's consumer programme Watchdog, has revealed that some Pets at Home stores had serious shortcomings in their small animal and fish management.
I watched the Wednesday evening's show, and was surprised to see one of its flagship branches at New Malden, was reported to be in breach of basic animal welfare standards.
This really surprises me, as I have done talks and shows in the New Malden branch on numerous occassions in the past. New Malden is the largest store in the Pets at Home group.
The staff and management at that time were a dedicated and caring team, and took pride in the store and the animals health and well-being.
They were friendly and motivated, and very good and popular with the general public.
Though I must be honest, that was some time ago. they then had a management change at the store, and a number of the staff left, and the remainder seemed demoralised.
It was at this time I stopped the shows, talks and demonstrations, I am afraid in my humble opinion the manager was unapproachable, pompous and in my opiinion not a good ambassador for the company.
I have met the new manageress and she was charming, and popular popular with the staff. Therefore the watchdog program surprised me.
The shows expert Mike Jessop, a former President of the Small Animal Veterinary Association. reported on two cases of ringworm in guinea pigs sold to Watchdog viewers.
In a separate incident two rabbits died soon after they were purchased by one customer.
The Watchdog team as usual filmed and went undercover in eight of the company's stores.
They found fish suffering from disease and in poor condition.
In one of the stores there were numerous dead fish in a tank, some of them had been partly eaten by the other fish.
I am no fish expert. but the possibility of the disease that killed them being passed on to the other fish must be fairly high?
Some of the pets in the small animal section were also filmed in poor health. To their credit Pets at Home do not sell puppies, and for this I heartily applaud them.
If they had, I would have never have agreed tio stage shows and demonstrations in their stores..
Mike Jessop stated that believed that Pets at Home were breaching several regulatory codes. These codes are in place for animal welfare. He also quoted the
"The company seem to have too many animals. They should either increase their staff and training or decrease the number of animals."
Watchdog quoted Pets at Home CEO Nick Wood as stating that the finding were a huge concern for everyone at all levels.
He stated that animal welfare the mainstay of the company. He regretted any instances of dropping standards.
Pets at Home were reported to be reviewing all small animal training and health procedures and increasing fish tank checks and generally upping their standards codes of practice
Mr Jessop stated that the company may be in breach of the Animal Welfare Act 2007 under section two sections 1 and 5 of the Five freedoms:
1. For a suitable environment (place to live) and 5. To be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease
I quite like the people I have met who work for Pets at Home, with one or two notable exceptions. I have never met or seen Nick Wood but I am sure he is very capable. But leadership in all areas is vital to put these failings right.
Animals in organisations like this should never be made to suffer. In the final analysis, it is the general public who will decide whether they trust this group again. I hope they do because from what I have seen generally, the people on the shop floor care and are helpful and knowledgeable.
Thursday 20th September