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Little Critters Get Big Advocate

Petco’s new campaign encourages potential pet owners to adopt homeless hamsters, rabbits, and other small animal friends

It’s no secret that the humane movement and the pet store industry have never seen eye-to-eye. No matter how couched it is in the fluffy marketing rhetoric of puppy love, the main goal of most pet stores is the continued intake of the almighty dollar—at the expense of the animals and the shelters where they often end up.

But over the last decade major retailers like PetSmart and Petco have stopped selling cats and dogs, instead opening their doors to humane groups seeking visibility for homeless pets.

Now Petco is extending the olive branch even further, launching an initiative called “Think Adoption First” that encourages customers to provide homes for the homeless. As part of the new program, Petco will partner with Petfinder.com on in-store adoption displays, train staff to encourage customers to adopt from shelters, and even allow local small-animal groups to display rabbits, ferrets, and other small adoptable pets inside the stores.

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