Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Don’t forget about the needs of pets during the coronavirus pandemic, industry leaders are reminding state and local governments.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and pet store owners released an open letter March 13 calling pet stores “essential retailers” that should be exempt from mandatory closure if such a move was being considered to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The 45 letter signers commended “the swift actions” already taken by government leaders to safeguard people.
“As you take defensive steps by directing event cancellations and facility closures in order to create social distances that will help control the spread of disease, we urge you to also consider the well-being of the pets and other animals loved by the citizens in your communities,” they wrote.
The letter pointed out that some pet stores offer not only food and supplies but also veterinary and boarding services. Many PetSmart and Petco stores, for example, house veterinary hospitals.
“Forcing these stores to close in many cases will also shut down access to veterinary care and a dependable facility to temporarily house pets in that community,” it stated.
Supermarkets, an essential retailer for people, don’t come close to meeting pets’ needs, the letter noted.
“Grocery stores that may be allowed to remain open generally only offer basic pet food options, and they don’t have the specialized food, supplements and even medication that are required to maintain the health of millions of beloved pets and animals nationwide,” it explained.
Among the signers were:
- Mike Bober, president and CEO of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.
- Dana Brooks, president and CEO of Pet Food Institute.
- Steve King, CEO of the American Pet Products Association.
- Vic Mason, president of the World Pet Association.
- Celeste Powers, president of the Pet Industry Distributors Association.
- Ron Coughlin, CEO of Petco.
- K. Symancyk, president and CEO of PetSmart.
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