Petco Lets Animals Die In Flood

I live in NY, near Binghamton. If you haven't heard by now - our area was flooded this past week. We had a lot of rain from tropical storm Lee - which caused historical flooding throughout Broome County.

There is a Petco in Johnson City, NY. It's in a plaza that houses a few stores - Toys R' Us, Party City, Christmas Tree Shops - to name a few. This plaza has been flooded a few times, most memorably in the Flood of 2006. Keep that in mind as you read what I have to say.

We had had heavy rains that started the night of the 6th. By noon on the 7th of September, the schools were being dismissed and many areas of Broome County were bring evacuated. Highways were being shut down, some were losing power, and almost every store in the area was closing. Including Petco.

The one difference here is that Petco shut their doors - and left the animals inside to drown. We have several pet stores around here, but Petco obviously takes the cake. Pet Depot was flooded too - and were out rescuing the animals, kayaking them out of the store if necessary.
Pet Depot rescue, Vestal NY

Petco's response includes so much spin - it's making me dizzy.

They claim that:
"The flooding was not from the Susquehanna River itself but from a back up in the town’s sewage/drainage system."

Petco is between the blue sign and the red brick

Does it look like that to you? We had record flooding in areas that had never seen water. The places that usually flood saw much more water than normal. Anyone with half a brain could have figured out that Petco would flood. Businesses are required to have insurance, right? Then the insurance people would have surely told the company that the area was prone to flooding. And to place the burden of responsibility on the Johnson City? Shameful.

In the second paragraph of the blog entry, Petco says:
 "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."

Yet in the next paragraph they say:
 "We have a hotline for associates to use if they ever feel an animal is in danger and no calls were made to the hotline suggesting that the associates feared flooding would impact the store and endanger the animals."

So...were the employees careless, or weren't they? Is it their fault they didn't call, or Petco's fault for not making the decision themselves? Surely someone from Petco was aware of the flooding.

The thing that makes me the most angry is this gem:
 "An associate went by to check the store at 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday night and there were no signs of flooding or a flood warning in effect."

Are you kidding me? We had flood warnings in effect from the night before. The night before, people. By 11pm Wednesday night, the place had to have been flooded - so how could an employee check on it? And there were most certainly flood warnings in effect by 11pm.

I myself live in an area that never floods, yet I had 6 inches of water in my basement. So a flood-prone do the math.

Road at the bottom of my street

Shame on Petco for being so careless and irresponsible. Shame on them for not just issuing a simple apology. A nice heartfelt "I'm sorry" would have worked wonders. So now there is a Boycott Petco page on facebook. I believe there's a demonstration/protest coming up, and I'll be there. The local news is all over this, and I'm hoping national news will pick it up.

Articles can be found at WBNG, and Press and Sun Bulletin.

Hey, Petco...did you get the cash out?


katie said...

From a logical stance, this incident reflects terribly on the business leaders of this Petco's level of awareness and assertiveness to protect their animals, their products. But more importantly, from an ethical stance, the lives of living species- human or not- should be first priority to preserve in situations like this. To think about hundreds of animals, drowning, with no one thinking about their well-being or trying to help them is disgusting to no end. Shame on Petco. Shame on the individuals who were too selfish to think about those besides themselves. To the workers of Petco: if the thought of these animals dying has no effect on you, perhaps the realization that you just lost countless consumers will.

katie said...
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