100 Animals Die In Petco Store After Flood


A Petco Store in Johnson City, New York is being blamed for not doing enough to save nearly 100 animals that died in the store after it was swamped by Tropical Storm Lee last week. The pet supply company is pointing fingers at the city for notifying them too late about a cresting river.

The animals, which included hamsters, rodents, reptiles, birds and fish, were trapped in the flooded store for two days.

Despite “highly publicized” flood warnings on Wednesday employees chose not transfer any of the animals to safe locations. A mandatory evacuation issued later in the day forced the employees to abandon the area and leave the animals in the store. Authorities worried that the nearby Susquehanna River would overflow.

Employees checked on the animals during the night and all seemed well, but they found the store flooded with several feet of water when they returned on Thursday morning.

They tried to enter the building to evacuate the animals, but authorities turned them away because of safety concerns.

Employees were finally allowed to re-enter the store on Friday and that’s when they found that nearly 100 of the animals had died.

Petco CEO Jim Myers reported that workers were able to save nearly 100 additional animals who survived the ordeal. Those animals were transferred to nearby Petco stores.

The Consumerist said, Marcy Whichard, Petco’s Vice Present of Animal Care and Education wrote a blog on the company’s website on Saturday that blamed the city for the tragedy.

“We are heartbroken over this tragedy. We want to stress that this was not carelessness on our associates’ behalf, but a communications lapse from the city to the store in evacuations orders. We are investigating why we did not receive those evacuation orders from the city if this area was known to flood in the past. Had we been aware of potential flooding, we would have removed all of the animals from the store as we do in all other locations.”

But Johnson City Mayor Dennis Hannon said the pet franchise should have been prepared for the possibility of flooding since the center where the store is located sits in a flood area.

He said, “The water moves into that area. With all the flood warnings and evacuation orders that were issued, for them not to go down there is just absolutely disgusting.”

This shirking of responsibility on Petco’s behalf angered animal lovers. The blog was removed and replaced by a message from Myers that said, “We apologize to the members of the Johnson City community and look forward to serving you better in the future. We realize the emotional burden this loss placed on your community and are equally saddened by it in our own community.”

“Our store in Johnson City is relatively new, we were not operating the last time flooding threatened the community and we misjudged the risk to this location. We feel terrible that we did not do more to avoid this tragedy, are truly saddened by what has occurred, and accept full responsibility.”

Animal lovers have not accepted this new explanation and have left more than 1,000 comments on the Petco website.

Take Action: Please sign the petition Say No To Petco asking the company to take full responsibility for the death of the animals.

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Photo from pixonomy via flickr.


Linda Jarsky
Linda Jarsky5 years ago

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. ---St. Francis of Assisi..."

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Thomas, your comment is very accurate in the context of if one only wants a dog/cat or puppy/kitten as a pet and doesn't care about breed.......ie., for a specific reason, or for showing, or another species. Animal shelters can't guarantee a breed, so if one wants let's say, a Lab or a pointer for hunting purposes, they more than likely will go to a reputable breeder of that breed. If one wants a guard dog, just because a dog looks like a GSD or Dobie or Rottie doesn't necessarily mean it is. Look at puppy photos of let's say, a Lab, a Rottie or a Pitbull......they will all look very much alike, yet when mature, have far different dispositions and personalities.

If one wants a guinea pig, hamster or gerbil, they wouldn't go to a shelter to find one. I have a friend who is very much an animal lover, but allergic to cats and dogs. She has guinea pigs and loves them. Only obtainable at such places at Petsmart and/or Petco.

Thomas C.
Thomas C6 years ago

If the pet trade did not exploit animals by turning them into a saleable commodity then there would be no tragedy to report! If the full facts of this case are ever divulged I've no doubt the cost of evacuation will be one item factored into the equation along with the likelihood that the "stock" was well insured and thus a replaceable commodity like the cash register! Do not buy animals from pet shops and this exploitation and potential for tragedies will be averted! Every animal purchased from a pet store or breeder results in the death of an unwanted animal at those shelters that don't operate a no kill policy! It works like this as the shelter fills with animals they kill the old and unwanted "stock" to make room for new arrivals! And the similarity with Hitler's activities does not end there as some are killed in gas chambers or simply starved to death!

Beth H.
beth Hall6 years ago

It's poor judgement on the employees part. I hope they can live with the choice they made.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado6 years ago


dianna Inscoe
di inscoe6 years ago

199 nimaaals saved is good, there is NO EXCUSE for the 100 lost lives, none! I believe that Petco should take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for the helpless ones who lost their lives trapped in cages, ect. Can you imagine the sheer terror that these poor animals had to go thru before losing their lives after they fought valientlu foor their lives only to lose because man knew best, "Yeah man! let's keep them in cages & amke a profit" DAMM SHAME! Helpless fuzzy bunnies, hamsters, ferrets, and other mellow mannals, reptiles whio shouldn't be in captivity anyway; OH, the HORROR! It makes me quite sick to my stomach, ,aybe now a lot of people who have access to my pages can now see why man makes me so sick & I am so pro-animal rights

Andrew Carvin
Andrew Carvin6 years ago

This makes me sad. =(

"They (Petco) tried to enter the building to evacuate the animals, but authorities turned them away because of safety concerns."

I would have entered anyway. They can arrest me afterwards...for what? Saving animals?

Apparently it was safe enough for the authorities to stand around, and shoo people away right in front of the store.

That's so #$@!ed up.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Sue, and other "conspiracy theoriests" or those who think the employees were all negligent, we don't know the logistics in this particular case, do we? Reading the article, they conflict. Going by what was said, there was advice given to NOT relocate the animals at first because of no imminent danger. Then, when it became obvious that it was the best choice, employees were not permitted to re-enter the property. When they were, it was too late. What IF they had been allowed back in at the last minute? Would you expect each employee, let's assume 20, many 30 people, to all grab half a dozen snakes, lizards and other critters personally and run with them ..............to WHERE? Unless there is a contingincy plan, what would YOU do?

Have any of you watched the interviews of 9/11 victims' families? I did. Two women said their husbands called them minutes before the towers collapsed and told them everything was fine......they were going to get out of there any minute. Ever talked to someone who lost someone or someTHING in a house fire? Things happen very quickly. I used to hold "fire drills" all the time when my son was young, since I worked nights and was always fearful of "what IF". I'm thankful that he had the presence of mind to spray a fire extinguisher all over my living room wall once when a plug "sparked". Ruined the carpet and the artwork, but at least no fire! Just saying that if there was no "plan", it's nothing but "hindsight" as to how it should h

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Sue, you're comparing apples to oranges. Of course there are abuses, and far too many go out "willy nilly" and make impulse purchases of species they know NOTHING about, and it's unfortunate that rabbits tend to be so high on that list. They can't be rehomed quite as easy as a puppy or kitten. Nobody would agree with you MORE than I do in that case. However, don't lump everyone in one basket. Shelters are not the place to look for much else besides a puppy or kitten. Some people are allergic and a guinea pig fits the "bill" for them. I have an online friend who has two, and she loves them dearly, was devasted when one died recently. She's allergic to both cats and dogs. Reptiles, snakes, lizards, birds..........all CAN be loved pets if taken care of by knowledgeable and educated people, and none are found at the local shelter (usually).

No animal WANTS to die, but on the other hand, they don't have a concept of death. Of course they don't WANT to be anything's lunch, and survival is an instinct only. A snake doesn't sit around "thinking" of "what IF" or a lizard plan for it's future.

Many PEOPLE (humans) lost their lives in Irene because waters rose so fast. It's not fair to judge the employees as merely not caring or walking off and leaving these animals to die. No, they wouldn't have drowned if they'd never been there, but again, they might also not have had a chance to survive as long as they did if they hadn't have been there. If the waters hadn't

Sue Griffiths
SUE Griffiths6 years ago

Anyone with half an eye and common sense would tell you that animals would rather be free with their companions and take their chance on whether or not they become something's lunch.