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Petco Won't Sell Product That Brings Pain to Pets

Pet supplies chain also wants its competitors to stop hawking electronic 'shock' collars
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2020 8:44 AM CDT
Petco: Say Goodbye to 'Shock' Collars in Our Stores
Petco is going to bat for its collared friends.   (Getty Images/Ksenia Raykova)

A pet product that's been labeled "controversial" by the Humane Society will no longer be sold by one major chain. Petco announced Tuesday that consumers won't find human- and bark-activated "shock" collars—devices that administer electronic pulses of varying intensity and duration to help train animals not to bark so much, or to run away—in its stores anymore, becoming the first major pet-supplies chain to cease selling it. "Electricity may be critical to powering your microwave, but it has no role for the average pet parent training their dog," Petco CEO Ron Coughlin says in a release cited by USA Today. Selling the product also doesn't align with the company's move to reboot itself as a health and wellness brand, notes CNN Business. "Shock collars are not consistent with our mission of improving lives," Coughlin says.

Although some trainers say animals don't have to be hurt by the collars if they're used correctly, Coughlin notes they can cause stress, anxiety, and fear in pets, and that they can, indeed, cause pain, as evidenced by online "shock collar challenges," in which people try to complete tasks while wearing one. "They're funny, but sad because pets don't know what's coming their way, and they didn't ask for it to happen," he says. The company is also circulating a petition, along with the #StopTheShock hashtag, that pushes for regulations and restrictions so that only professional, certified trainers can buy the collars. "Studies have shown that dogs respond effectively to positive, voluntary, and rewards-based training," the petition says. "We also believe the opportunity for human error and misuse of certain shock collars—even by well-meaning pet parents—is simply too high." (More Petco stories.)

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