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PETCO to Offer Neutered Rabbits for Adoption Only

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 General News J E 4
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SAN DIEGO, Nov. 17 PETCO is reaching out to animal-welfareagencies and local rescue groups in an effort to greatly increase the numberof rabbits that find forever homes by offering adoptions at its storesnationwide, the company announced today.

PETCO works with rabbit groups in several areas to provide in-store rabbitadoptions, and now wants to expand that effort. In recent years, about a thirdof the company's nearly 950 stores have offered neutered rabbits for sale.PETCO expects to phase out the sale of rabbits in favor of adoptions by early2009.

"Moving to an all-adoption approach with rabbits is the right thing to do.We believe it's good for the animals, good for our business and is consistentwith our Think Adoption First philosophy in which we encourage prospective petparents to consider adopting an animal rather than purchasing one," PETCO CEOJim Myers said. "Rabbits are great companion animals, and we believe PETCO canplay a pivotal role in partnering with animal-welfare groups to connectresponsible pet parents with happy, healthy neutered rabbits through in-storeadoptions nationwide."

PETCO already has strong relationships with about 70 rabbit adoptiongroups -- including the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society, the Oregon HumaneSociety, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, San Diego House Rabbit Societyand the Escondido, Calif., Humane Society as well as other groups across thenation. The company is also communicating with the national House RabbitSociety to build additional relationships with local chapters and affiliates.

Marcie Whichard, PETCO vice president of animal care, education andcompliance, said rabbits are the third most popular companion animals afterdogs and cats. "We're thrilled with the success of our relationship with ourcurrent rabbit group partners in providing forever homes for more and morerabbits. We look forward to reaching out to expand our network ofrelationships with other groups across the country. By working together --local rescue groups, PETCO and the PETCO Foundation -- we can do great thingson behalf of homeless rabbits."

PETCO Foundation Executive Director Paul Jolly expressed support for thecompany's shift to offer all-adoptable rabbits.

"This is a wonderful expression of our Think Adoption First philosophy.The PETCO Foundation will do our part to help build relationships with rabbitrescue groups and find forever homes for these lovable animals," Jolly said."As rabbits become even more popular as pets, it's critical that families haveaccess to happy, healthy, neutered rabbits -- and PETCO stores provide animportant channel to link these great animals with responsible pet parents. Iencourage the rabbit-welfare community to help with this very important workto save rabbit lives and find them forever homes."

To learn more about PETCO or the PETCO Foundation, visit PETCO.com. Forthe latest news on anything and everything PETCO -- including a video aboutthis news announcement, visit the company's blog at PETCOnews.com.

About PETCO

PETCO is a privately held specialty retailer that provides products,services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great petparents. The company operates more than 900 stores in all 50 states and theDistrict of Columbia, as well as a leading pet products and informationdestination at http://www.PETCO.com. The PETCO Foundation, retailer'snonprofit organization, has raised more than $44 million since its inceptionin 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. Inconjunction with the foundation, PETCO works with and supports more than 5,500local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for morethan 200,000 adoptable animals every year.The company said it will partner with local rescue groups to: -- Provide habitat housing for adoptable rabbits in stores; and -- Care for adoptable rabbits as part of the company's industry-leading animal-care procedures to feed and monitor animals housed in PETCO stores; -- Assist with the adoption of any relinquished rabbits in need of a forever home.

SOURCE PETCO
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