Put a stop to inhumane pet shops

The poor conditions at Har Mar Pet in St. Paul point to a larger issue of animal maltreatment.

by Keelia Moeller

Yet another pet store with unhealthy conditions for animals was unearthed last week — and this one’s a little too close to home.

After inspection, Har Mar Pet in St. Paul was discovered to have decomposing hedgehog corpses, hamsters with missing eyes and dogs with respiratory conditions and sores.

The animals’ wounds had healed over, meaning they had endured the injuries for some time. Har Mar Pet failed to report them to a veterinarian.

Unfortunately, the discovery of sick animals at the shop doesn’t surprise me. I’ve passed by several times while shopping, and the stench emanating from the business was always so powerful I could smell it before entering the store. 

Naively, I assumed it was normal because it was a small pet store without much ventilation.

Ultimately, Har Mar Pet’s unhealthy living conditions and neglectful behavior are part of a larger issue. 

Pet stores around the nation have been criticized for their notoriously poor care of animals. The animals sold in these shops are often the product of backyard breeding operations or puppy mills that involve cramped and inhumane living conditions. 

The demand for specific dog breeds, exotic animals or “starter pets” — like hamsters and rats — are what keep these reprehensible pet stores in business.

Eliminating all pet stores is not a viable option, but it’s crucial to be aware of pet stores with unhealthy living conditions. If you see a sick animal, report it to local animal control or the police.

I strongly encourage future pet owners to consider adopting animals from humane societies rather than fueling pet shop businesses that raise animals in cruel conditions.