If you see an animal at a pet store that is not being cared for correctly, DON'T BUY IT.
I don’t know how many times I’ve had to tell this to people, but it’s a lot. This is something I usually see in snake/lizard/gecko tags and on corresponding forums.
IF YOU SEE AN ANIMAL BEING MISTREATED IN A PET STORE AND THEN YOU BUY THAT ANIMAL, IT DOES NO GOOD.
Buying an animal that has been kept under poor conditions only perpetuates the market. Yes you’ve pulled one animal out of a bad situation, but you’ve opened up a spot on the shelves for a new animal to be mistreated in its place AND you’ve told the pet store, with your purchase, that what they’re doing is just fine. This is one step forward and two steps back.
There are better things you can do than give the pet store money for mistreating an animal:
- TAKE PICTURES. Seriously, document that shit.
- Try to talk to the manager. Whether or not you get someone who’s amiable is dependent entirely upon chance, but it’s worth a shot.
- Call corporate. The amount that will actually get done is debatable, but this could spook employees into taking better care of the animals they’re trying to sell.
- CONTINUE TO BADGER THEM. And get anyone who will support you to do the same. They’re a business—eventually they’re going to listen to customer input.
- Contact any nearby animal welfare groups and see if they’re aware of the conditions the animals you’re concerned about are being subjected to. Chances are they can be louder and more productive than you alone can.
- Buy from local breeders. Sap money away from the problem source by refusing to give them your business.
Chances are you’ll have to be The Bitchy Customer to get anything done. But it is the pet store’s job to be turning out healthy, happy, well-taken-care-of animals and when they are not doing their job it becomes a matter of watching living things suffer.
TL;DR: Don’t buy an animal from a pet store with the intention of rescuing it from neglect or mistreatment. It doesn’t do anybody any good.