Petsmart Manager Not Too Concerned About This Parakeet Corpse In Bird Habitat Door

Jack is an animal lover and a mechanic. He writes that when he went to fix a habitat door at a local Petsmart store, he found a dead parakeet trapped inside a hollow part of the door. It wasn’t the dead bird that bothered him the most, though: it was the manager’s total lack of concern about the situation. He was upset enough to e-mail Consumerist. (Warning: post contains non-graphic dead pet photo.)

I do some mechanical contracting for Petsmart. I received a work order to do some work at a [redacted] location to fix a door in their small bird habitat. The door has a hallow section on the back side that houses some mechanical parts for the lock. When I take apart the hallow section, I notice that a parakeet had unfortunately had fallen into a small hole at the top of the door. I alert the manager that I had checked in with when I arrived at the store.

I can honestly say, she had the most nonchalant attitude towards being told you have a dead animal shoved in your door. She looked at me like something was wrong with me when I asked the door to be cleaned. How was the smell of a decaying bird not noticed? I am an animal lover and cannot understand how you can be employed by a pet store and have such a piss poor attitude towards animals. I understand that these birds may be just a commodity to you that has one purpose, to be sold; however, to some people (like me), this is a travesty. I understand that this may cause me to lose work from this business, but honestly I do not want to be aligned with a company that shows this level of disrespect to the animals it sells.

I have enclosed a picture of the bird that was trapped inside. The part that you see the bird on is attached to the back side of the door.


A PetSmart representative had this to say when we forwarded Jack’s photo and email.

Thank you for calling our attention to this unfortunate situation. At PetSmart, we’re pet parents too, and we’re dedicated to keeping pets healthy and happy. We spoke with the store manager as well as the district manager, who confirmed the birds’ habitat has been secured to prevent this from happening again.

Our business partner is welcome to contact us directly at [redacted]. We’d be happy to get him in touch with the store’s district manager if he has further questions or concerns.

Let’s hope this is the case, and that no other birds will end up trapped inside a door… alive or not.


Edit Your Comment

  1. fsnuffer says:

    Good thing he does not do mechanical work for a slaughter house.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      Way to fail on the point there.

      • MR. TheShack (SHORYUKEN!) says:

        Not really; both are places where animals are used for a purpose, but in the interim they are supposed to be treated humanely and with care. They aren’t.

    • Brian Cooks says:

      Barf, thanks for bringing up horrifying memories dude. I used to work for a power company and on our maintenance route was a ……..slaughter house. You could smell the shit and death smells from 3 miles away. The pigs knew they were there to die, the squealing even when they were still on trucks a mile from the slaughter house was indescribable. Can’t say I was sad when the power company laid me off.

  2. Tightlines says:

    I’m sure the people running the stores are there for their business sense and not for a love of animals. That’s a shame.

  3. suburbancowboy says:

    “has been secured to prevent this from happening again”

    Of course it won’t happen again. The bird is dead.

    No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’.

  4. Commenter24 says:

    I too enjoy animals, but I fail to see what Jack expected the manager to do. Was the manager supposed to break out in tears because of the dead bird? Act furious? Hold a funeral? Start a non-profit to protect birds? The bird was already dead, there is little the manager could do at that point.

    • Anathema777 says:

      Sounds like he expected her to clean the bird up. And maybe an assurance that they’d work to make sure it didn’t happen again.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        Well, he didn’t really explain what the manager did.
        He just commented on her lack of empathy.

        • socialSTD says:

          I thought the OP explained it pretty well when he said that she “had the most nonchalant attitude” and “looked at [him] like something was wrong with [him] when [he] asked the door to be cleaned”.

          I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the manager to show some concern and do whatever she can to remedy the situation quickly. It sounds to me she didn’t care at all and expected the OP to clean up the mess.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      I’m with you. Some people react different ways to different things as well. You can’t expect everyone to be sensitive or even have the ability to fake it (god knows I don’t).
      OP doesn’t go into detail about what the manager did – just that she “seemed” confused.
      Maybe she was freaked out.

      I think the OP might be more upset that the bird was there in the first place and thinks that there’s dead animals all over the store.

    • Marshmelly says:

      There probably are health concerns related to having a dead animal wedged in a door and decaying…the smell alone should have tipped someone at the store off. I took it more as the manger was being neglectful in taking care of her store, which is probably the real issue. Even if it was just an accident that they overlooked, it seems odd that she wouldn’t be somewhat apologetic about it and at least offer to clean up the bird (it sounds like she was expecting the contractor to clean up the store’s mess…which I’m sure isn’t part of his job). From my experience, most store managers seem to have some kind of concern over the product they are selling, and discovering a “broken” product (in this case, a dead animal) isn’t something they would normally shrug off.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      He wanted the door to be cleaned, the dead animal removed, and maybe the door to be fixed so it didn’t happen again. Also next time there is a corpse rotting in the store, maybe to check it out instead of ignoring it.

      You think that this is expecting too much? Despicable.

    • Javin says:

      I’m sure if the manager had shown even a SLIGHT amount of concern, or remorse for an animal that had slowly died of thirst, we wouldn’t be reading this post. The manager couldn’t have cared less.

    • dg says:

      Geezus – at least TRY to act concerned about it is what I’d expect. Say “Oh my g-d. Really? Let me see. That’s awful. Let me take care of the little guy (put it in a box). Thanks for your concern, how can we prevent that from happening again? Can you handle the fix for us? Say, do you have any pets? How about some free food/treats/etc as a thank you…”

      SOMETHING. Anything other than *shrug* *yawn* uh huh…. would have been good…

    • majk2000 says:

      The manager should have shown some concern over the state of a live creature SHE was responsible for. After all the supposed to be living was dead.Tears? anger? ridiculousness (funeral)?? c’mon now, one can care without this over reacting drama. The actions I would have shown or expected to be shown is 1. Trash (bury if you prefer) the dead. Carcass is not healthy anywhere. 2.Find out how this happened. Pretend to care if need be. 3. Take action to prevent it from happening again, assure all is done to prevent this from ever happening again. 4. If you don’t care about other living things get a different job. Lawyer perhaps..or maybe you would do well tracking deaths for the census.. But in a store that sells living things- One should care about the living things.

  5. iggy21 says:

    You know, I bought some gerbil at PetSmart several Years ago. They died 2 weeks later. I threw them out and bought 2 more…pity i had to waste the money on the defective ones. :)

  6. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Poor bird. Whenever I stop by for supplies, I like playing with the cats through the glass (and I always, always want to adopt them all) but I always feel a little guilty because PetSmart does sell animals. Fish, I get, but chinchillas (even though they overall seem happy there), birds, hamsters, etc. I’m glad that at least PetSmart isn’t selling cats and dogs, at least. The cats at PetSmart are for adoption through the local Humane Society or a similar organization, at least.

    I’d like to go with a local store, but most of them don’t stock exotic pet supplies.

    • aloria says:

      If it makes you feel any better, chinchillas generally look grumpy all the time, anyway. I had three and they always have quite a disapproving, lazy look to them, unless you give them a dust bath– then they look like crazy little breakdancing spazzes.

      • BobOki says:

        Our chiis sucked royal ass. They chewed everything except their expensive chew toys. They pooped everywhere except their boxes (floors as well). And they seemed to hate us… a lot. We would go to pet them, play with them, etcetc and they would just run and hate us.
        I have had everything from gerbils, rats, up to a horse and never seen this kind of attitude.

        • aloria says:

          Yep, they are definitely little balls of hate. I found their attitudes amusing– sort of like cats in that “YOU ARE HERE TO SERVE ME” sense. They definitely are not cuddly or affectionate, which is tragic for something so cute and soft.

          • Dominar Rygel the XVI says:

            well, I can say that it’s all about how you approach them. when ours is in his cage and feels safe, he loves to be scratched behind his ears, and will nuzzle the hell out of you in the process. it’s not a domesticated dog or cat………..

          • Fidget says:

            If you’re toward the north, hit up some Degus. Lots of love on that front. We had tons of black bear hamsters (pet-shop rescuing), and those get pretty damn big for what they are.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      I’m with you on feeling guilty. I do love love LOVE that Petsmart joins up with local pet adoption services to get these places a little more exposure; but I feel so bad for some of the larger, more intelligent birds (I am a bird loving fool). They seem so sad when I visit, and frequently take a long time to sell. My guess is that the more exotic bird owners go through friends and connections when they are looking for a particular breed, not Petsmart.

  7. wellfleet says:

    I’m an animal lover too, but what did her expect the manager to do? Bust out into tears, have a little bird funeral? In her line of work, she has probably seen lots of sick/dying/dead small pets and is simply unphased by it. When I had the vet euthanize my cat, I was a sobbing mess and the vet wasn’t. I didn’t think the vet didn’t love animals…
    Or maybe she’s a sociopath with no feelings, just waiting for an animal to die on her shift so she can be happy about it. Either/or.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      She might cry over a particularly sad kitty situation, but not on the job. That’s one reason I didn’t look at being a vet. I knew I would have a hard time not doing that. Also, not punching people who mistreat their animals.

      • Greely says:

        They’d have hit you back once or twice and I’m sure that would have worked it out your system, if you’re still looking to get into the occupation.

    • Rena says:

      I believe the article states he was expecting the manager to have the area cleaned.

  8. anime_runs_my_life says:

    Was it pining for the fjords? Or did it muscle up to the bars and bend them apart with its’ beak? No no, it died after a prolonged squawk. That’s it.

  9. tape says:

    “How was the smell of a decaying bird not noticed?”

    Judging from the (admittedly small) picture… it doesn’t look like the bird had been dead for very long; it probably didn’t smell yet. Also, considering that it’s a pet store, there’s probably a million other odors from living animals that combine to mask the smell.

    P.S. “The door has a hallow section”: I understand that the submitter misspelled the word “hollow” in every instance he used it, but can’t this get proofread and edited?

    • DangerMouth says:

      Considering all the smells that assualt you when you enter your typical pet store, I’m not sure anyone would notice.

      And I’m not sure how to tell how long a bird has been dead just by looking at it. Unless it’s a puddle of goo with maggots crawling around, all you see is a bird. If it’s in a dry area, it might dessicate instead of rot. And the feathers don’t turn grey or anything.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Except for store names, Consumerist usually doesn’t correct an OP’s email. It’s just like when you send a letter to the editor, and they write “(sic)” next to what you mispeel(sic).

  10. NarcolepticGirl says:

    “How was the smell of a decaying bird not noticed?”

    Judging by the photo, it doesn’t look like the bird has really started decaying yet.
    When my I lived with my friend a few years ago her bird died (actually – he looked just like the one this photo). She put it in a shoebox and left it on the dining room table for the rest of the week so she could bury it on Saturday. I don’t remember the bird smelling at all.
    I stayed away from the table, though. I can’t handle dead animals/people. Freaks me out.

  11. reddbettie says:

    As someone who worked in a Pet Store for 3 years, this doesnt surprise me. A lot of animals come in and out of those places and a lot of them die. As a total animal lover, it’s just something you get used to.

    It sucks, but the attitude is something that eventually comes with it. There’s a ton of compassion, otherwise these people wouldnt work with animals!

  12. Dallas_shopper says:

    YUCK! Poor bird, and good for him for taking the time to actually highlight what happened. It’s totally unacceptable.

  13. brinks says:

    Petsmart is a good company. They don’t sell puppy mill dogs but rather give space to shelter animals. They also do work with all kinds of animal charities. As someone who only has shelter pets and does occasional animal -related volunteer work, I have always been proud to patronize them for those reasons.

    The manager’s reaction is upsetting, though. I know in this line of work seeing a dead animal eventually becomes no big deal for the employee, but how about showing a lack of concern to someone who is obviously upset by this? I wish people understood that their actions reflect their entire company. One nonchalant manager resulted in a Consumerist post, which will negatively affect many people’s opinions of an otherwise good company.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Well to be fair, OP didn’t exactly describe what her reaction was other than how she APPEARED to not care. OP did not post any quotes from the manager nor any lack of action that the manager took.
      Basically this whole thing is about how he disapproved of what he perceived to be a “nonchalant attitude”

      I imagine she cleaned the bird up as he doesn’t state that she didn’t.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Wrong. They are awful when it comes to their small animals. I used to have pet rats, always more than one at a time. When one of my rats died, I bought another one at Petsmart instead of my normal pet store. That rat wasn’t properly cared for and had developed a respiratory condition caused by overcrowding and soiled bedding. Even though I returned the rat and reported the breathing problems it was still too late. My other rat wound up infected and, despite my father rushing him to the vet to be put in an oxygen tent, he died. I never would go near another Petsmart animal again. Not one other rat from a decade+ of keeping 2-4 at a time ever was sick like that, only the one from Petsmart. Even at 15 or 16 I could tell Petsmart cages had more animals and a stronger smell than Scamps (who sold rats that were hand-raised to be particularly sociable with humans), but as a teenager I also trusted that the big store knew best and who was I to question it. Maybe it was my local store that was bad, but I stand behind my choice to avoid them. I prefer small stores that work directly with the breeders of their animals, no matter how small.

      Also, if grocery stores can keep track of how many cases of cereal they have, why did a pet store not notice a missing living creature? Don’t they do checks? They can’t possibly watch out for the well-being of these animals if they don’t even seem to know how many they have.

      • Neomang says:

        I feel like you got a raw deal. I work at a petsmart, and I know all the small animal and reptile associates love those little critters like their own. My store (and the other 2 I’ve visited) also seem to keep reasonable amounts of room for the animals as well, but I know I’ve seen similar stores overcrowd the small animals, especially hamsters. We honestly try to make the animals comfortable and happy while they’re there though.
        Also as far as checks go, I’m sure they did notice it was missing, but occasionally birds can get out into the store (though more often wild ones come in) and if they were to get out through the loading bay or front doors, they would just have to be considered lost. They likely assumed that’s what happened to this poor little guy who was nowhere to be found, and chalked it up to an accident.

  14. Ben says:

    It’s so shocking that animals treated and sold as inanimate objects are treated as such!! Oh wait, it’s not shocking at all!

  15. humphrmi says:

    The OP needs to have kids. Once you’ve flushed a few fish and domesticated lizards and rodents down the toilet and buried a few birds, you’ll get a nonchalant attitude about it too.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      Did they all die of neglect/starvation/dehydration, too?

      • humphrmi says:

        Pets die. It’s a fact of life. Not every dead bird is the result of neglect. Get off your high horse.

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        even the OP admits it was an accident on the bird’s part:

        “When I take apart the hallow section, I notice that a parakeet had unfortunately had fallen into a small hole at the top of the door.”

  16. Dyrenia says:

    WHat’s the problem? The bird is already dead, so there isn’t much the manager can do. Is she supposed to cry and throw a funeral for it?

    • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

      No, she’s supposed to ask the engineer if he saw how the bird got there, and promise to fix the issue if the door was defective. Basically, anything other than yelling “what-EVAR” in a valley girl voice.

  17. grapedog says:

    Does no one count the animals they have? If they are not still a “puppy mill” they should have a reasonably accurate count on the amount of animals they are in posession of, since it’s their money that just died in a doorway.

  18. Winteridge2 says:

    I can remember going to a local pet shop and seeing dead hamsters in the cages, some that looked as though they had been there for weeks. Maybe they thought the l’il rascal was sleeping? At least they should have offered that one at a discount.

  19. scoosdad says:

    “Our business partner is welcome to contact us directly at [redacted]. We’d be happy to get him in touch with the store’s district manager so we can make sure he never works for us again.

  20. mrpibb13 says:

    Beautiful plummage.

  21. ellemdee says:

    I saw a dead mouse in one of the mouse enclosures in the pet department at Meijer a few years back. Now, this wasn’t a “oh, he just looks like he’s sleeping” dead mouse, the other mice had skinned his head & face – the muscles were exposed and all the other mice were eating him. It looked like something out of a horror movie. Kids love to watch the critters in the pet department and I didn’t want any of them to see that. I couldn’t find any employees nearby, so I went to the service desk to tell them what I saw. They said I’d have to talk to the pet department manager, but he was out that day and they were short staffed. I insisted that someone take care of it (you’d think they’d be more concerned about customers seeing a deal, bloody mouse in a store that also sells food) and they had someone come over and take the mouse out of the enclosure. I started looking in a different enclosure, and I saw a second mouse who was not yet dead, but was headed for the same fate, bloody, being attacked by the other mice…it was horrible. Again, I practically had to force someone to take care of it. It was traumatic for me as an adult, I really didn’t want a 5-year-old to come along and ask why the mouse was inside out.

    It should be noted that callibalism among mice in captivity is not unheard of, but they had way too many mice together in each small enclosure with no food in any of them, so they were just setting them up for a situation like this. If the manager was out that day, does that mean the animals didn’t get fed that day? If the manager takes a vacation do they not get fed for a week? If a store is going to sell animals, they need to have someone on staff that at least has enough knowledge about animals to know that they need to eat every day and cares enough to remove a dead, skinned mouse from the enclosure without customers having to insist on it.

    Animals are living things, you can’t just ignore a problem like it’s a dented box of cereal sitting on a shelf.

    • Caffinehog says:

      Think of the tree that was cut down in the prime of its life and was pulverized to make the cereal box! And the cereal? Ground up plant babies!

    • halo969 says:

      This is probably why Meijer doesn’t sell rodents anymore.

  22. sybann says:

    poor birdie

  23. serke says:

    As a former employee of Petsmart I can’t say I’m surprised. But really, there doesn’t seem to be much to be surprised about.

    As others have mentioned, it doesn’t look like it had been there long, thus the lack of smell.

    Having had to clean the bird enclosure, it’s not surprising that it happened.
    The parakeets are usually in the large front house, and when employees go in to clean it out, change the food and water etc, the parakeets generally flip out and sometimes end up in the middle storage area, where the employee has to stand. It must have gotten in the door from there.

    I love animals, but of all the pets that I interacted with (cats and dogs from shelters, fish, hamsters, rats, mice, parrots, doves, lizards, snakes, frogs….) the parakeets were the ones I liked the least. They made a mess, and unlike the other birds had no charm, were noisy and, frankly, a dime a dozen.
    Even someone who loves animals, after working with them for long enough, doesn’t really care much if a parakeet dies. It’s sad the way it went, of course.

    I found a little dehydrated lizard in a fish tank once. It must have escaped when someone was cleaning, was never found, and gotten trapped.

    A couple dozen feeder fish and a dozen tropical fish die a day. The system is mostly automated, and they’re fed every day, and the tanks kept clean, but they may come in sick, or it may be too warm for that species, or any number of problems can come about with a tank system that large. Actual diseases were rare though.

    Then there was the guinea pig who aborted a litter (they can start reproducing so young that sometimes before the sexes are separated one gets pregnant) and the guinea pigs were just running over the little lumps.

    There was the hamster who killed another and ate it’s face.
    We had a honey bear hamster that was the nastiest little thing, and it chewed right through the plastic bottom of it’s enclosure to the metal floor beneath.

    Every week it was something different.
    And honestly, the funny look about the door being cleaned was probably because the entire enclosure is bird germ city, no matter how often you clean.

    I still think as a company, they do a good job. The manager could have made a bigger effort to seem interested, I suppose, but really we’re only getting this guy’s (rather naive sounding) opinion.

  24. MarvinMar says:

    No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn’it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

  25. majk2000 says:

    Wow, And I was surfing parakeets at petco and petsmart because we need a different hen for my Jango boy. not too many breeders around here. And the local pet store has none. (They buy from local small time breeders like me). I will do some inspecting for health for sure. May ask for a 2 week living health guarantee to boot! This is good to know, thanks