The proliferation of 99 cent stores in our neighborhoods is obvious. Many of us go there to supplement our shopping-I do as well. I find that hard-working people run many of the stores.
Some products should be viewed cautiously. I saw a small bowl recently that had a warning that it was not meant to come into contact with food.
But on a whole, other unconscionable level is the sale of living things like small turtles and betta fish in these stores, put on shelves by uninformed store owners and staff as to their care needs.
Turtles less than 4 inches in size are illegal to sell in the U.S.. There is the danger of contracting salmonella. Yet the ones in a 99 cent store in Ridgewood are about the size of quarter. The owner knew nothing of their care and could not explain to an interested customer that they will need a large tank with a filter, UVB lamp and heater, that their water requires a dechlorinator and that they need a varied diet. Turtles can live to 40 years of age, forming a bond with their owners, and can grow to a foot long.
Beta fish are beautiful and ornate and generally need to be separate from other fish. They are often sold in small containers holding even less than a cup of water. They cannot stay in this container. They should be in a 5 gallon tank, also with dechlorinated water. They should eat about 3 food pellets a day. In more than one local store, I have seen 10-20 pellets laying in the water, polluted it and contributing to water conditions that result in death. They lay in a small amount of polluted water.
How’s that for a life? Even if you say “It’s just a fish,” why should these betas be for sale without proper care or instructions, doomed to die?
On a higher end shopping experience, African Claw Frogs are sold in a small plastic cube at a Hallmark store on Myrtle Avenue. The frogs are mass produced and placed in a ‘Frog-O-Sphere.’ Their nature is to swim about, flipping around as they do. They can barely move in these tiny plastic prisons. And they require hiding places to feel secure. Why must they be a novelty item when they are living creatures?
Good luck with that, sitting right by the register, gawked at, picked up, trapped. They should be in a 10 gallon tank with a secure lid, with at least 6 inches of air space because they need to resurface from the (dechlorinated) water to breath. Why must a card store sell these sweet creatures that become tame enough to take food from their owner’s hand? Why must they be a novelty item when are living creatures?
And while we are at it-please, pet stores, don’t give out goldfish in bags to children at Halloween, without giving food and care sheets. They are handed off, one after another. Maybe there will be some kindly parents who will buy the fish tank (goldfish need a lot of space and are messy, requiring a larger filtered tank) and the proper food. But most likely these fish stay in the bag for awhile, using up the oxygen, only to get sick or die. Happy Halloween indeed. How about giving out Swedish Fish candy or gummy worms instead of the real deal.
When in a store that is selling illegal small turtles, bettas in small containers or frogs in plastic prisonsplease speak on their behalf if you are so inclined. File a report through 311 if you feel disturbed. Monitor the conditions in local pet stores that sell pets as well.