Pet shop defends ‘giveaway’

Kevin, Ruth and Ian Cooper with staff member Jamie Sweeney. Picture: Jon Hewson                                                        d429246
Kevin, Ruth and Ian Cooper with staff member Jamie Sweeney. Picture: Jon Hewson                                                  d429246

A MANDURAH pet shop owner says she’s scared to go outside after she was subjected to abuse from online animal rights campaigners.

Mandurah Pet and Reptile World owner Ruth Cooper said she put an admittedly “poorly written” post on Facebook on Tuesday.

The post said “Continuing our freebie Friday we are giving away a dog to one lucky customer. Come in and see the dog and have a look around. This Friday only.”

Soon after, animal rights group Oscar’s Law posted alerted their 140,243 followers on Facebook to the post.

They told their followers to go on the pet shop’s page and tell them dogs are not prizes in competitions or giveaways.

What followed was abuse from people calling the pet shop “disgusting” and accusing them of selling dogs from puppy farms.

Mrs Cooper said none of her puppies came from puppy farms.

“These are the first puppies we’ve had since last winter,” she said.

“We do not support puppy farms, if I do not check people personally, then my husband does.”

Mrs Cooper said there was a simple explanation for the post. “A local lady brought in puppies for us to sell,” she said.

“She told us she also had a three-year-old dog she can’t handle, who needs to find a home.

Mrs Cooper said her post was in reference to the pet shop giving away the three-year-old dog to this customer.

“We would never give away a random dog to a random person,” she said.

“I appreciate these people (Oscar’s Law), I really do because they have a conscience and they are trying to protect the animals and we need more people like that.

“But they attacked and they wouldn’t let me explain in my comments, so now I’m just letting it go.”

Mrs Cooper said she had been threatened and is afraid to go outside.

“Everybody thinks the pet shop is the bad guy and we’ve worked for a year to change that perception,” she said.

“We rehomed 85 cats last spring-summer.”

“I encourage everyone to come in and check us out.”

In the course of a few hours Mandurah Pet and Reptile World, who have 380 followers, had dropped from a four-star rated business to a one-star rated business.

Their post trying to explain the situation garnered 90 comments from outraged animal rights activists.

Oscar’s Law posted that pets are a lifetime commitment and they said they are not “a giveaway inanimate object”.

They told their followers to tell the pet shop to “stop selling backyard bred and factory farmed dogs – many of which appear to be much younger than eight weeks old.”