Help! Horrible Pet Store


5 Year Member
Aug 7, 2013
Location (City and/or State)
New Orleans, LA
Guys I need help dealing with a local pet store,

Every now and then I visit the pet store to browse. In the past I have ignored the sub-par care of their tortoises due to my shyness and desire to avoid confronting management, but today I was exceptionally upset.

There was a single baby redfoot tortoise in a completely dry enclosure of cedar chips. His eyes were shut and he seemed to be stumbling around biting at the cedar chips. They also have one large sulcata kept in a large aquarium, with barely enough room for him to turn around.

In the past, I have observed their tortoises in enclosures numerous times without water dishes, or water dishes with undrinkable water. Their tortoises are always kept in bone-dry conditions. I have seen different species of tortoises kept together, as well as with other animals such as a bearded dragon. The tortoises are fed a diet of noting but kale. The baby sulcatas that they currently have are already experiencing pyramiding.

I am taking action. The way I see it, I have two possible choices to deal with the problem: 1) I can talk with the store manager and attempt to educate him on the proper care of tortoises or 2) I can write negative online reviews and attempt to spread the news about their inadequate care to prospective customers.

The problem I have is neither of these choices seems viable. From what I have heard, the store owner is not a very nice guy and I doubt that he would be willing to change. The tortoises surprisingly sell very well at the store, so I don’t see why he would spend money on taking better care of the tortoises. I also doubt that online reviews would change anything, as I believe most of the purchases of these animals is impulsive and they don’t discover that their tortoises require completely different care until later on if at all.

How do you all think I should go about attempting to fix this situation?

Terry Allan Hall

Active Member
5 Year Member
Apr 21, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
The Republic O' Tejas
Try "educating" him, perhaps by printing up a one page (per species) list of requirements that he can print up and give to new owners.

If that doesn't work, turn him into Animal Control, write up a scathing review in every local and online review you can, maybe even talk to a reporter (might luck into an animal lover!).

Do all you can!


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Sep 6, 2011
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I agree with the above. Start out nice and caring, even offer to help get things right if you can. Check back too the store after a week or so after giving him the helpful advice. If after the second visit nothing has changed, let him know what action you will take. Let him know you will not only give him bad reviews every place possible, but you will also give the info for these people to find the right care and paces to buy healthy tortoises.
Once all has been done, if nothing has changed, at least you can sleep at night, knowing you stood up for those animals that cannot do it for themselves.
Good luck. Keep up posted. To help with your courage, we have had people in the past speak up and work.
Just remember, go in there prepared with the info and be kind and caring. Only let them have it after nothing has changed.


The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 9, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Don't be discouraged if you get shut down. You likely will. Try anyway. Someone must plant a seed in the heads of those people. Then each person who also complains will be watering that seed. Eventually, with enough time effort and lost sales, that seed will grow. You are doing the right thing even if you fail initially.

Emphasize that the things you are asking for will not cost more money. Emphasize that cedar is toxic and using it could hurt his bottom line. Emphasize that the substrate you are suggesting will cost less. Explain that offering spring mix while the tortoises are in his care is just as easy as kale, about the same expense, but much better for the tortoises and gives prospective buyers a much better picture.

Printed material might not be read by the man in charge, but as he discards it onto the counter, an employee whose interest you've piqued might pick it up and look it over. Remember that the owner or manager is not likely to be the person actually caring for these animals. You might find a sympathetic ear in the person who DOES directly care for them.

Whatever happens, you will fee better knowing that you tried, and your efforts may open the door for someone else down the road.