Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bad Economy & Bad Reviews Close Pet Store Chain

In Oregon and Washington, all five Scamps pet shops which operate in shopping centers are closing under chapter 7 bankruptcy. For years, the stores had to fight against bad publicity by animal rights activists as well as some angry consumers. In 2008, KGW news in Portland ran a damning story claiming that Scamps knowingly sold sick pets to customers. Some dogs for example had parasites, worms and in one case, a dislocated kneecap, according to the KGW report. However, Scamps did offer a free veterinarian exam with each major pet purpose, with the right to return an animal within a specified time-frame.

Two former employees of Scamps have even posted claims on the Internet that they were ordered to place sick animals in a plastic bag and to kill them by putting them in a freezer by the owner of the stores. However, no independent claims exist to verify whether this is true or simply two disgruntled former employees or just some phony animal rights activist propaganda. Many other employees loved their job and the customers.

The fact of the matter is that this pet store chain struggled in the last several years with bad publicity as well as the bad economy, and it all became too much and strained the company to the breaking point.

However, I have some good things to say about Scamps. After both of my parents and my dog all died from unrelated old age health issues in late 2007, I felt lonely and purchased my little dog, Archie, a Havanese Bichon at Scamps for the reduced price of $275. He's not the brightest guy. And maybe he's even a "puppy mill" dog. But he's still a great little guy and companion and worth owning. Maybe Scamps wasn't the best pet business ever. But I'm a very satisfied customer myself. The staff always seemed very good. And the store had a great selection of quality pet food and supplies in stock. Scamps didn't seem like too bad of a business to me.

Yet, with a bad economy, buying a dog and having an extra mouth to feed in the family isn't at the top of most people's hit list right now. And the combination of too many critics, possible bad business practices and the bad economy all worked to sink what appeared to be a popular pet store business located in several shopping malls. Scamps probably was about as good of a business as could be expected for any business that sold live animals at shopping malls. Not perfect, but not entirely bad either.


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