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Posted by ophidian on November 13, 2002 at 03:11:26:
Over the past ten years or so many of the smaller pet shops have been closing down and in their place spring up these ďPet SuperstoresĒ. What seems to be happening are that these huge places are sucking up any and all revenue that used to be hard to obtain due to the fact that the knowledge was not as widespread as it is now. Finding anyone that knew reptiles used to be a major feat in and of itself. Sure we all knew the local kid down the street or at school who would go out and collect lizards and snakes or maybe you were that kid. These days however itís as if everyone went and got a degree in herpetology. With the sudden increase in superstores it looks as if some of the basic tenants of reptile care have been lost in the shuffle of big money. The herp industry just like any other is all completely opinions. You give the same scenario to ten different people youíll get ten different answers. This was all right when it was the mom and pop stores. Yet I would think that these superstores would have a central training regime that their employees would follow. In a mom and pop shop this is usually the case. This is because the person answering your particular question was trained by the owner or manager who was hired by the owner for the specific reason of their knowledge. I am in no way saying that all the shops will agree but neither do our own doctors thatís why thereís so many of them. However, when I go into a pet superstore I would expect that I would get the same answer no matter which one I went to. That is not the case however. You may go to one and get one type of information then go down the road a few miles to another of the same company and get something completely contradictory to what you were just told. What eventually ends up happening is that wrong or somewhat incorrect information is given to the layperson and then their animal or animals end up suffering and in the worst case of all dying. Thereís absolutely no excuse for this type of thing happening. The herp industry has enough to worry about without people who are either uneducated or inexperienced giving bad information. It is for this reason that we as herpetological enthusiasts are constantly defending our trade and interests to the public.
This is also a major reason for people (first time buyers of reptiles) to get soured on the idea of keeping these wonderful animals. In an ideal world these folks would go out and do the research on the particular pet that they were interested in obtaining. However, just in case anyone has been under rock lately we donít live in a perfect world. Therefore, these first timers depend on us and our industry to provide them with the quality of information that our animals deserve! The accountability issues donít start and stop with big industries however. We as a society and simply as a reptile enthusiast are all accountable to make sure the public gets the correct information. Remedies and solutions are in abundance to correct the current situation. The choice is up to us as part of the industry if we choose to get out there and introduce the public to the wonderful world or reptiles and their proper care. Until that happens more animals will die and be abandoned by pet owners who have given up on their animal.