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  • Petland Employee Drowns Rabbits
  • Letter to District Attorney
  • An Open Letter To Petland

    August 5, 2009

    Ed Kunzelman, Founder and Chair
    Frank Difatta, President
    Petland USA
    250 Riverside Street
    Chillicothe, OH 45601

    Dear Mr. Kunzelman and Mr. Difatta,

    We were horrified to learn this morning about the drowning of two rabbits at your store in Akron Ohio.

    While we are grateful that you took immediate action and closed the store, we would like to ask that Petland join Petco and PetSmart in ceasing the sale of rabbits in all of your stores.

    While the drowning at the Akron store may be an "isolated incident," it is indicative of a culture in which animals are simply products to bring in a profit. They are not. In addition, the conditions under which these rabbits lived-fighting with each other, and not receiving medical treatment-are certainly not isolated incidents, and have been found at other Petland stores, as well as at Petco stores before they finally made the conscientious decision to stop selling rabbits.

    On behalf of the thousands of House Rabbit Society members in the United States and around the world, we ask that Petland finally make the humane choice to not put animals' lives before profit, and to stop selling rabbits.

    Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not low-maintenance animals. In fact, compared to dogs and cats, they are actually high-maintenance pets. The hundreds of phone calls that we receive every week demonstrate that people who purchase rabbits at pet stores simply do not attain enough information on how to care for them, nor do they commit to the ten years or more that a rabbit will live. Pet store staff, like so many service employees throughout this country, are generally short-term or part-time employees, often teenagers, most of whom have never lived with even one rabbit, let alone the scores that our volunteers have lived with. They simply do not have the knowledge, skills, or inclination to properly educate the public about these complex animals.

    As the world's largest rabbit rescue organization with a presence in forty states and six countries, and a website that gets over a million hits per week, House Rabbit Society has played the leading role in rescuing and placing abandoned rabbits. In our twenty years of rescue work, we have rescued over 24,000 rabbits, and our members look to us to fight the continued breeding and sale of rabbits, and to prevent as many of their deaths as we can. We are deeply concerned about this issue, since the vast majority of the pet rabbits we rescue and rehabilitate were originally purchased through pet stores and breeders.

    House Rabbit Society has informed our members of not just the incident at the Akron store, but about the fact that Petland remains the only national pet supply retailer that continues to sell rabbits. We are encouraging our members and allies to shop elsewhere for their pet supplies.

    I eagerly await your response to this letter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further information or clarification on anything covered in this letter. Finally, if Petland executives would like a face-to-face meeting with members of our board, we will go out of our way to arrange this.


    Margo DeMello, Ph.D.
    House Rabbit Society

    House Rabbit Society is a non-profit rescue and education group.
    We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today!