I bought a hamster for my daughter at Petco, Dale City VA March 4th, 2010. We were told by the associate not to handle her for a few days and let her get used to her home, put her in a quiet place, etc. We did that and unfortunately since I wasn't handling her I didn't know she developed the disease called Wet-tail. When I picked her up on day 6 her bottom was all wet and it was apparent she had diarrhea.
I first assumed I was feeding her the wrong food so I went back into Petco and bought the food she was eating when I got her. I told the associate of the situation and she said "it sounds like Wet-tail. That is very serious and they only have a 50% chance of survival, if you caught it early. You better take her to a vet right away." I said "I'm not sure I should spend like $100. to take her to a vet if there's a 50% chance she'll die anyway." She never mentioned Petco will pay the vet bill if it's within 15 days. (Unfortunately I didn't look that closely at the sale paper when I bought her or I would have known and Princess might still be alive today.)
I called the Petco back after doing some research online about Wet-tail, to ask if they sold Dry Tail meds.
(I was never given a care sheet nor was there any mention of the possibility of this disease)When I called I asked them if they sold the meds there. They said they did not. They offered no help nor did they mention I could take her to the vet at their expense. I then called Petsmart to see if they had the meds. They did not but suggested I call Petco back as their policy is to take sick animals back within 15 days and treat them.
I did this. I was told by Matt on the phone, yes, bring her in and we'll treat her.
When I brought her the manager, Don was there and said "no, we don't do that, we will treat her, but you are returning her." I said "that is not what I was told on the phone, Matt said you would treat her for me. What will you do with her if she recovers, resell her?" He said yes. So I said "why can't you just treat her then and let me have her back after?" He reluctantly agreed. I asked him if he would please call me in a couple days and let me know how she was. He assured me he would. I left with an uneasy feeling and no kind of care or compassion from this man. I assumed we couldn't visit as he said she'd be in a back room and he didn't act like he wanted to be bothered with the whole thing anyway. Mind you, my daughter, who I bought the hamster for was with me and very upset about this. 3 days passed. since I didn't hear I assumed she was still alive and recoving. My daughter kept asking me about her and I said "if we haven't heard anything then she's still alive. He said he'd call if she passed." *** me. I shouldn't have assumed he'd stand by his word. I trusted these people to care for this pet.
I called on Sunday at 3 pm. and asked Don how she was. He put me on hold and said he had to check something. He came back and said "she didn't make it." I wasn't sure. I thought it might be another one. I knew we had one die last night but I wasn't sure if it was yours." I was sooo upset. First of all, he didn't even know which one? That means they may have a few in there dying. Second of all, he looked me and my daughter in they eye, said they'd take care of her and that he'd call to let me know. I hung up and cried and couldn't help but feel that this guy doesn't care about these poor little creatures at all or the fact that kids are having their hearts broken. He offered to replace her.
I went in the next day to get my money back. I don't want another one from there. He wasn't there. The other associates know nothing about it and said they'd have to call him. Come back tomorrow.
I called the next day. I talked to a nice lady and told her the situation. (she knew nothing of it either, makes me wonder if anyone really cared for that poor little hamster) I asked her if she was actually treated. She went on to tell me that they had a couple others in there with the same thing. Nice!! So it seems as they are selling sick hamsters. And on top of that they are not warning people of the dangers of Wet-tail, not giving out care sheets, and continuing to sell them. She told me "when I take a hamster back I tell the people to come in and visit it while it's in the sick room, make sure it's being treated, I tell them about wet-tail and what to look for, etc..." Too bad I didn't get her as a sales person. Princess might be alive. This all boils down to poor management. Petco's motto is the animals come first. Well, if that were true, wouldn't the manager train all his employees to inform pet purchasers of potential diseases that are very common, what to look for?" Especially if they've been getting them back with this. They know about this! How ethical is that? They are little animals. I guess they're just disposable. It's horrible. Please stay away from Petco's! Learn from me. Do not buy animals from petstores. They are unhealthy and you will get your heart broken and watch a poor animal suffer.