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Bully Breeds Banned From PetSmart’s Doggie Day Camp

DECEMBER 2012 UPDATE: The “bully breed classification” verbiage has returned to PetSmart’s Day Camp Requirements page.

JULY 2012 UPDATE: PetSmart has removed the “bully breed classification” verbiage from its website, but the company continues to enforce the ban. According to a July 18 update on the PetSmart BSL Intervention page on Facebook: “Big news! PetSmart is now hiding their policy of Bully breed discrimination by taking down their requirements page and anti-Bully Breed policy; however, if you call any PetSmart PetsHotel you will be told that the policy remains in full effect!”

PetSmart storefrontDid you know Pit Bulls are banned from Doggie Day Camp at PetSmart stores?

Gremlin’s dog dad didn’t. Gremlin is a Pit Bull who was formerly used as a bait dog. Today, as a certified therapy dog, she comforts patients in nursing homes. Her Facebook page has more than 11,000 fans.

Last Friday, a post on Gremlin’s Facebook page regarding the ban said, “We are baffled by this, it is apparently a corporate policy. How can we change people’s views when huge pet-specific companies have this outlook. We asked the manager of the PetSmart we used to go to and he said it’s because PetSmart views them as unpredictable.”

In one of the 224 comments on the post, Kathryn Shelton wrote, “Unpredictable? I have met a yellow Lab that was unpredictable, a Golden Retriever that was unpredictable and lastly … a Basset Hound that was unpredictable. One ‘unpredictable’ dog of the breed does NOT make them all unpredictable. Shame shame shame on PetSmart!”

Stacey Gross commented, “The irony is they recently donated $1 million in Phoenix to help with spay/neuter programs for Pit Bulls in shelters, since they are the largest populations and the ones being put to sleep the most.”

It’s not just Pit Bulls who can’t be happy campers. According to PetSmart’s Doggie Day Camp policy, it only welcomes dogs “who have been socialized with other dogs but are not of the ‘bully breed’ classification or wolves/wolf hybrids.”

That “bully breed” classification includes “American Pit Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, Bull Terrier or mixed breed that happens to look like one of these breeds.”

Along with Gremlin’s dad, many of the people who commented were unaware of this policy, although it has been in place since at least July 2007. At that time, PetSmart released the following “Bully Breeds Safety in Group Play” statement:

“We have received responses both for and against our policy, and can appreciate the sensitivities and deep emotions behind them … When we developed our policy, it was with the deep knowledge and experience we’ve gained by associating with this breed of dogs in a variety of capacities and in understanding their history… This doesn’t change the fact that we believe Bully breeds can make great companion pets and can be a great addition to the right home. They remain welcome to visit our stores for other purposes.”

Perhaps Robert Moran, the president and CEO of PetSmart, is unaware that banning breeds has not proven to increase public safety. Blaming the breed instead of the deed has fallen out of favor over the past five years. Just this week, the state of Ohio ended its 24-year-old policy of labeling all Pit Bulls as “vicious.” And, after 20 years, Miami-Dade County in Florida is expected to drop its Pit Bull ban soon.

The Campaign to End PetSmart’s Pitbull Ban, started on Facebook in February 2011, has more than 500 fans. “We believe this policy is ill-founded, and only promotes the general misconception that Pit Bulls are dangerous and unwanted animals,” according to its Info page.

The Facebook community PetSmart BSL Intervention was created two years ago. Its Info page states, “As a leading pet retailer, PetSmart has a responsibility to end incorrect stereotypes, not perpetuate and expand them.”

The PetSmart corporate office can be reached by phone at 800-738-1385 or 623-580-6100, and by mail at 19601 North 27th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85027.

PHOTO: Nightscream

Laura Goldman

Laura Goldman is senior social media writer for i Love Dogs, Inc. She does love dogs. And elephants and turtles. Along with writing about the loves of her life, Laura likes to play with her two pound pups and tell anyone who'll listen just how awesome Pit Bulls are.

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February 23, 2012 By : Category : DOG NEWS Tags:
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46 comments
glebec
glebec

PetSmart is being sensible.  They support spay and neuter programs so they are working to help prevent more abandonment and shelter killing.  They know that while most bully dogs will be fine, that some are not and that it is impossible to predict which ones won't be.  


Training, loving homes, temperament testing - all have proven to not assure safety.  PetSmart owes their other human and animal customers a safe environment.  


There are horrible dog attacks, almost always featuring pit bull types or mixes, almost every day. They attack other animals and people.  Some attacks are fatal, all are horrific.  


Contrary to propaganda those communities that have specifically regulated or banned pit bull type dogs HAVE dramatically improved public safety.  While there are still minor dog bites, serious maulings and fatalities have dropped dramatically.  And if you don't care about people (which pit bull fans apparently don't) the rates of cruelty cases and shelter euthanasia of pit bull type dogs have also dropped dramatically in these communities - and ONLY in those communities. 

Most people like improved safety and humane care.  For example, Miami Dade County defeated a ballot measure to repeal the pit bull ban by over 63% of the vote - after a huge campaign by the pit bull community to repeal it.  The voters knew the truth and didn't by the propaganda.


Anyone who actually cares about pit bulls would want to see fewer of them bred, fewer of them abandoned and fewer of them killed.  The campaign to keep breeding them and to overpopulate every community in the world with them is a BREEDER'S campaign and a dog fighter's campaign. Unfortunately a lot of naive dog lovers have bought into this baloney.  Smart dog lovers don't.

MayWillow
MayWillow

I was wondering if the author called PetSmart's corporate offices to understand the ban. Someone mentioned liability, is the policy driven by heir insurance company? Also, do other Day Camp facilities allow pit bulls in their play groups? Our PetSmart takes pit bulls for the hotel and they have individual play. I agree with another comment that the staff is not experts in dog behavior based on my observation of the day camp sow are very good while others are not attentive while they are in the day camp

PaigeLovelace
PaigeLovelace

I have seen dogs who are tiny little yappy dogs act worse then pit bulls do!  Breed discrimination is unacceptable.

LouJrPiscatelli
LouJrPiscatelli

maybe they should keep the little yappy dogs that instigate the bigger ones separate.I see more little dogs attacking people in the store than pit bulls.if they would like to ban pit bulls I guess they will ban my $1000 a month i spend there on my dogs and i will go to petco.I may change stores just because their following this whole pit bull crap anyways.An owner should know the breed before they get it.I dont see it as the dogs fault yet they suffer for their owners ignorance.Mine is the absolute most loyal dog ive ever had a part of our family and i will trust her to protect them until she dies.

swykdosha
swykdosha

Breed discrimination is unacceptable, but you do also have to consider the fact that these sorts of daycares (especially the minimum wage retail kind) are often very irresponsibly run. Too few people supervising, too many dogs in one group, dogs not evaluated properly, and the people supervising often don't have the proper behavior knowledge to catch potential problems or prevent them from happening. I feel that bully breeds require closer, more knowledgeable supervision because they can develop dog-aggression thanks to their history and breeding (it's even acceptable or desired in some breed standards). So while breed discrimination sucks, this isn't a huge deal to me because it will only take one careless, ignorant employee and one bad, preventable incident to damage their reputation even further.

PilarBorras
PilarBorras

Pet Smart will not see me or my dogs in one of their stores ever again... Shame on them!

 

ValerieAnn1
ValerieAnn1

I refuse to ever go to pet smart again.  I just got 10 people to boycott.  I am severely offended.  I own a sweet female pitbull and I am extremely disappointed.  I should get another 10 people to boycott your overpriced organzation.  Pet smart is just another part of our transitioning socialist system.  Bye Bye Pet Smart.

 

Swanson0426
Swanson0426

Mr. Chewy delivers right to your door and you get a discount for scheduling deliveries. Screw pet smart!

BeckyBibeyCaddell
BeckyBibeyCaddell

Pet Smart is the only pet store left in our small community. For some of the things I have to have for my bull terrier mix and black lab mix, I have no choice but to get those items there as our Wal-Mart doesn't carry them. I already don't like shopping at Pet Smart because it is so over priced. I, just like most others, wasn't aware of the bully breed policy for the Doggie Day Care, but I wouldn't leave my dogs with anyone but my vet anyway. I adopted both of my girls from a high kill shelter last year, the lab mix in Sept. and Angel the bull terrier mix, in Dec. Angel was 3 months old and had been severely starved, beaten, shot and had an infection setting in in the wound and a stomach infection. She has come a really long way. She has no fear of humans now...she will love them to death, but even with training we can't break her of jumping so she can still accidently hurt small children in her excitement to "greet" them. And if she hears a child cry, she gets so upset and has to find out what's going on and wont stop till she has licked away all their tears. She is, however, very unpredictable around other dogs and small animals.. I know this about her so I do not take her to public places (like Pet Smart) where she or someone else's animal could get injured. I don't let her run loose, potty breaks are always done while leashed and when the funds are available, we try different training techniques...who knows, maybe we will find one that works! I had a chihuahua/JR mix that would bite a person in a flat second if he didn't like them and it wasn't because he was raised that way....he was just insane!. Maybe I'm just one of the lucky people that hasn't crossed a "bad bully" yet. I will be glad to call whoever needs to be called and sign any petition that needs to be signed. I have had all I can take of Breedism!

xkikixlandryx
xkikixlandryx

i have a pekignese terrier (i know i spelled that wrong) shes 10 pounds and a American Stafforshire Terrier Mix, who is 40 pounds, they both will lick you to death, litterally a 2 year old can shove his hand down her throat and play rough with her and she will just pull away and lick, she has been well socialized and loves all animals including my dwarf rabit.... so because people ban the breed and not the owners who treat their dogs so terrible as to MAKE them a BULLY, then you loose me as a customer, i will go NOT to petsmart... not to pets unlimited because they are your sister company... i will shop no other than a store who will accept my dog.... you loose me, 2 dogs, my husband, and my rabbit  as customers, we will no longer spend almost 500-600$ every two weeks, because you do not deserve my service, A$$ HOLES!

LuAnnLouttit
LuAnnLouttit

I have 4 dogs of different breeds and yes I do have a bully breed, guess what, none of my dogs will be visiting Petsmart .  Neither will their Mama.  I also buy for the rescue/kennel where I work....how do you like losing $500 of business every 2 weeks.

 

LynneJaquithLowe
LynneJaquithLowe

PetSmart...not so Smart...you just lost me as a customer!

SFrantBrooks
SFrantBrooks

Well any place that will not admit Gremlin will not see my Golden Retrievers either!!!

ChelseaWilson
ChelseaWilson

well i will not be there! As i have two pitbulls that were as bait dogs and they are amazing dogs and non agressive!!! They are around my kids!!!! You will loose alot of people by banning this!!!

JohnDavid2
JohnDavid2

Oh and MichaelLaprise.....it's "their" house not "there" house. Maybe you haven't reached 7th grade yet. Dummy

JohnDavid2
JohnDavid2

MichaelLaprise,

 

I didn't say all Pit Bull owners have less money, you idiot. I said there was a study showing a strong correlation between Pit Bull owners and low socio-economic status. Do your research dummy. If your trailer doesn't have Wi-Fi then ride your stolen bike to the library.

MichaelLaprise
MichaelLaprise

JohnDavid2 you are a moron by saying Pitt Bull owners tend to have LESS money than owners of other breeds i got 3 and there good dogs i dont have a problem with them at all and i know people that have pits and i bet they got more money than you. You can fit 50 of your trailers in there house thats how big there houses are your an idiot. But i guess some one who would be scared of a spider would be scared of a dog grow some balls.

lauragoldman
lauragoldman moderator

Debbie: You're right, PetSmart has removed the policy page and verbiage about "bully breed classification," but it still enforces the ban. I've added an update at the top of my story. Thanks!

DebbieWolfe
DebbieWolfe

The page the article links to as "policy" says nothing about breeds. It only addresses vaccination and flea/tick requirements.

 

JayneRipLennoxMatthews
JayneRipLennoxMatthews

I don't think we have PetSmart in the UK anymore, at least not by us, but wherever I go I will NEVER BUY FROM PETSMART until they revoke this idiotic policy.  My dog is a Border Collie and I will say it myself, she is more unpredictable than a lot of Pitties I have met over the years, where other dogs are concerned.  

 

Lebamtay
Lebamtay

They certainly don't mind taking money from bully breed owners.  I for one will not shop there until the ban is lifted.  A dog of any breed should be banned if it cannot get along with other dogs in a group circumstance.  They should take every dog individually, regardless of breed, and assess their temperment and behavior.  Don't ban an entire breed, breeds of dog.

JohnDavid2
JohnDavid2

Yes all these companies care about is money- true. 1st of all most dog owners do not own a Pitt Bull and do not trust the breed. So the majority of spenders will be non-Pitt Bull owners who do not want Pitt Bulls around their dog. Second, and this is fact, the demograpic of Pitt Bull owners tend to have LESS money than owners of other breeds. FACT! Before anybody flames me get your sh@+ together and do some research of your own for once and stop being fed biased info off your "bully" sites.

AnthonyQuatroni
AnthonyQuatroni

The only thing these big companies care about is MONEY. So if you hit them in their pocket, by NOT shopping there to prove a point, they WILL change.

KatieBakker
KatieBakker

I don't see why people want their bully breeds to be involved in their daycare program anyway. Has anyone seen how it's actually run? I don't feel safe allowing my dogs to play with 20+ other dogs of God knows what temperament while an employee(usually a petite woman) stands in the middle with a squirt bottle. I am sorry, but water wont do shit once dogs start to have a full blown fight.I have a daycamp near me that allows all breeds of dog, after they have proven they are ok social wise, and it's way better staffed, and they know how to actually break up a fight between 2 bully breeds.

glebec
glebec

@PaigeLovelace  Breeds are not races. They are deliberate creations by human beings.  Left to their own devices natural dog breeding would not result in any pit bull type dogs at all, but all medium sized, slender prick eared, brown dogs shaped like small German Shepherds.  Dog attacks, serious mauling and killings of other animals and of people are unacceptable.  A Chihuahua acting badly is nothing at all like a pit bull acting badly. Use some sense. 

glebec
glebec

@LouJrPiscatelli  Yes, an owner should know the breed before they get it.  If pit advocates told the truth, a lot fewer people would get bully breeds at all.  How would you regulate requiring potential dog adopters to learn about their potential pooches?  

I am glad you have a wonderful and safe dog and I hope you never experience anything different.  How is it that your right to never hear anything against your breed of choice is more important than the actual life of a child?

glebec
glebec

@swykdosha  Glad you logically concluded at the end of your comments that breed discrimination does actually protect the bully dogs as well as everyone else.  All the rest of us are asking is to give safety a chance.

glebec
glebec

@BeckyBibeyCaddell  Thank you for keeping your dog safe and keeping everyone safe from her.  You are wiser than many.

JohnDavid2
JohnDavid2

 @MichaelLaprise

 I feel bad for "MichaelLaprise". His generator ran out of gas and he lost power in his state funded trailor rendering him without a way to respond to my "bully" response. The tire on his home happened to go flat on the same day sending him into dire straits. Please pray for him. Please, Michael, learn to read and, for god's sake, don't breed.

DebbieWolfe
DebbieWolfe

To be fair to the author, the url in the article is being redirected, as if there was some other information that PetSmart has made inaccessible.

tabithanaylor
tabithanaylor

 @JayneRipLennoxMatthews I grew up with dogs.  My parents taught me how to respect them (aka: don't tug on them, treat them how you want to be treated).  Yet on July 4th, something set that dog off (border collie) and she bit me in the face.  I was 9.  I'm now 32.  I've not forgotten it... but never once have I blamed that breed.  And now?  I have a pitbull that is 14 (had her since she was 8 weeks), and two 8 year old bull terriers (one from a breeder and one was a rescue).  To see this story sickens me.  The media demonizes breeds.  The more sensational the story, the better the headline.  It's pathetic.

JayneRipLennoxMatthews
JayneRipLennoxMatthews

 @JohnDavid2 As a dog trainer and behaviourist in the UK, I don't know what it's like in America, I can honestly say that what you have stated is untrue.  I know of plenty of people who have APBT to get the name right, or even pit bulls (meaning the mixed breeds or other breeds that get classed in the same group, such as Dogos or Staffies) and a lot of them actually take their dogs to flyball classes and even agility without a problem.  Another trainer I know rehabilitates APBTs or Pit Bulls.  Also Teddy Roosevelt had an APBT and I wouldn't say he was poor, would you!

Mandi Merlenbach
Mandi Merlenbach

 @JohnDavid2 I work at a petsmart and I see more pit bulls per day than any other breed of dog. Please tell me how "most" dog owners don't own or trust pit bulls? You can't even spell the name properly so why should anyone believe anything YOU say about pit bulls?

KatieBakker
KatieBakker

 @JohnDavid2 Hey idiot, first off, no such thing as a pitt bull. Second, there are many very rich and famous people that own American Pit Bull Terriers. In fact, if you ACTUALLY DO YOUR RESEARCH you will find out that these dogs started out being owned by rich and powerful people. But then began to become popular with all sorts of people. 

xkikixlandryx
xkikixlandryx

 @JohnDavid2 well john as it may be a fact that pit bull owners have less money its not that in my case, i have plenty money, but i have always loved the breed, they are great family dogs with a long history of being the *nanny breed* they are great with kids and other pets .... unless they are used for fighting or bait, and or abused, then they shouldn't have an issue growing up.

Mandi Merlenbach
Mandi Merlenbach

 @KatieBakker Also all the hotels are different, depending on the manager who runs them. Mine was amazing, the people who were there a long time really loved dogs and we would go out of our way to make sure they were comfortable and safe.

 

On Christmas eve near 10 pm after closing, my manager actually took one of the dogs to her own vet because she feared he may have had bloat. I can't tell you how many time I gave dogs baths when I didn't have to just because they had gotten filthy one way or another or just sat in a cage or had extra play times with dogs who seemed lonely.  When dogs are scared or not feeling well we will sit with them and talk and pet them. The fearful pittie I mentioned got play times at night from me even though he was not scheduled to nor did his owners pay for it. I did it because I loved him and felt bad that he was at our hotel for so long.

 

We had a terrible tragedy at our hotel with a puppy dying during an over night in its room between the hourly checks. The puppy had a kennel mate who was so scared that one of our employees volunteered to sit int he quiet room with her. She had her wrapped in a blanket and just soothed and petted her till the owners came.

 

The people who work at the stores are not all monsters, I do think you should really check into the hotels you take your pets too, I have heard stories about some of the other petsmart hotels. Try to get to know the staff before your trip or placing your dog in one of the day camps.

Mandi Merlenbach
Mandi Merlenbach

 @KatieBakker  The large dogs and small dogs are separated, There is never more than 14 large dogs and 17 small dogs in a room. Occasionally they will make a third room for medium dogs. The people in the play room do not have just a squirt bottle. You cannot see the shelf but they also have a bull horn and a large powerful hose to break up fights. Everyone carries walkies to call for back up and there are always dog leads handy in case you have to leash someone. We are taught to use the spray bottle, for small misbehavior, the hose for fights, and the bullhorn if we cannot break it up. Once another member comes we will also grab the dogs back legs which for most dogs shock them into letting go of the other dog while maintaining our safety.

 

We have to take tests on safety for both humans and dogs, and they "usually" only hire people who have a lot of dog experience, I saw one girl with little dog experience and she didn't even last a month. She was also only brought in because we lost two people during the busiest time of the year and she ended up just being a run between and not actually in doggy daycare.

 

I worked in the doggy daycare for half a year and they are VERY cautious about the dogs that are welcome in day camp. They have to not be dog aggressive at all.  I do not agree with the ban on bully breeds and never did. I said as much to my manager when I got hired there. She agreed with me but said the company stated it was a liability and they couldn't allow them in.

 

While there we actually had to ban two dogs from day camp for becoming aggressive, one was a shiba inu who actually bit someone, the other was a rottie mix who was just overly growly and would snap at dogs going in and out of day camp. I never had an aggressive pit bull come into our hotel. We had one who was very fearful and it took me several days of coddling him and sitting in his room with him, but eventually he came around and was a super sweet guy.

 

I was honestly more afraid of being mauled by some of the cats than any of the dogs.

KatieBakker
KatieBakker

 @EricYoung And obviously you do, cause you haven't done any of your research. Do us a favor, open a book, and not just a Vogue magazine.

JohnDavid2
JohnDavid2

 @Mandi Merlenbach

 You worked at petsmart? At $7.25/ hour you want a say? It's called a typo. Now go back to work, loser. There's dog poop on aisle 3. Get to it.

ValerieAnn1
ValerieAnn1

ITs APBT, I used the term above because people usually know the term Pitbull.  I know what you mean.  I do not really agree with the term and how it is used.  but unfortunately I feel most people only know the name pitbull and not stradfordshire and american bully.  But there are different blood linesas well for the breed

Mandi Merlenbach
Mandi Merlenbach

 @KatieBakker Teh only exception to that rule is if a large dog is incredibly mellow and is actually not enjoying the large dog day camp because the larger dogs tend to be more rambunctious.

 

If they are mixing a lot of large breeds with the smalls they are breaking corporate policy and I would call on them. That is dangerous to the smaller dogs.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Petco and PetSmart – Naturally these two major pet retailers allow your pooch to accompany you inside their stores. But be aware that if you want to drop off your dog while you shop, Pit Bulls are not allowed in PetSmart’s Doggie Day Care Camp. [...]