Pet Store Bunnies


Pet stores should not sell pets, only pet supplies. Many pets are impulsively purchased from stores by people who do not understand how to care for them, and then they end up surrendered to shelters, or worse, set "free" to die. We encourage patronizing only stores that do not sell pets. You will find a listing on our Supplies page.

However, we have been asked more than once, "I went into this pet store and saw a rabbit in a tiny cage. What do I do?". Many pet stores are not nice places. They may have uninformed staff, tiny, unsanitary cages, or open enclosures where anyone can reach in and grab the poor unsuspecting bunny, bird, or guinea pig. Here is some information that may help.

Things you can do:

  • Don't buy anything.  Your dollar has a voice, so don't support poor animal care and substandard conditions by purchasing anything.  
  • Ask to speak to a staff person or manager.  Do they seem knowledgeable about the pets in the store?  Do they seem open to changing their practices?  Sometimes talking to them can get the problem fixed.  If they are willing to work with you, take a look at our links below for Starting a Campaign.
  • Write a letter to the store's management or corporate office if it is a chain store.  Include facts and specific details about what you observed.  Also tell them what happened when you spoke to the staff.  Include names if you can. Encourage others you know to write letters also, and have everyone you know boycott the store until conditions improve.
  • Report abuse to Animal Control, including specific details about what you saw, the date you were there, and the approximate time.  Include photographs if you were able to take them.  
  • Send a copy of your complaint to the Better Business Bureau and to the leasing company if the store is in a shopping center or other rented space.
  • Send a letter to the local newspaper.

Who to call in cases of cruelty or neglect:

Wake County Animal Control: 919-212-PETS (7387)
Chatham County Animal Shelter: 919-542-7203
Durham County office: 919-560-0630
Durham County after hours: 919-560-4606
Johnston County Animal Services: 919-934-8474
Orange County Animal Control: 919-942-PETS (7387)
Chapel Hill Town limits: 919-942-PETS (7387)
Carrboro Town limits: 919-883-8398
Town of Cary: 919-319-4517
Town of Holly Springs: 919-557-9111
Wilmington NC Area:
New Hanover County Animal Control: 910-798-7500
for after hours emergencies use the 911 service
NC Animal Welfare Hotline:
1-855-290-6915
Reporting online

Why Not Sell Pets?

Here's why pet stores should not sell pets.
Little Shops of Sorrows

Starting a Campaign:

You can start a campaign to encourage the store not to sell pets. Here's how:
Sample letter to pet stores
Working with pet stores to promote adoption
HRS Activist Corner

Helpful Links:

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