It has been more than a year since we have gotten Cody from a “pet farm” located somewhere in Singapore. I figured I should shared our story (about our dealings with the farm) so that more people will be more aware about the dark side of the pet industry. I first blogged about our experience privately, sharing with a small group of pet owners. The responses can be categorized into two camps. One camp was shocked by the experience, although most if not all had heard similar unethical practices, just that they did not hear it from somebody who had experienced it first hand. The other camp could relate to our experience because they had undergone similar trauma with the same said farm! There was no doubters, and the responses propelled me to publicize our story, for greater exposure of such unscrupulous practices.
Firstly, I shall name the farm “E” Pet Warehouse, or EPW. E is just an alphabet chosen arbitrarily as the name of the pet farm in question, for easier reference and for anonymity sake. As for the term “Warehouse” I thought it is a more suitable descriptor than the word “Farm”, just purely based on my encounter with them. The remaining part of this post is a mere re-production of the original blog entry from here. (sorry it’s still protected!)
By chance and by fate, we met Cody on a Saturday afternoon at EPW. We didn’t go to EPW shopping for a pet. But we saw Cody, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, lying quietly in his own ‘window cubicle’, self entertaining. He was not trying to catch anybody attention, unlike other puppies in EPW. We were instantly attracted to him, not just because of his adorable look, but also by his personality, and equally curious by his breed. To be honest, we had initially thought he was a mutated breed, a mix of German Sherperd and Terrier? But I had digressed.
We were told about his breed by the sales manager, and while he shared with us more about the breed, in retrospective, I cannot recalled any of what he had said drew any parallel to what I had learnt from the internet so far. The sales manager was repeatedly trying to convince us in “buying” Cody, despite the oath that was printed on almost every of their office pillars. I can’t exactly remember the details of the oath, but it was about how pet is for life and not a commodity.
We were very close on getting Cody, but the logical side of me told us we need “cooling off period” and not purchase on emotional impulse. It was ironical that EPW had the oath printed everywhere but yet they were quite hard selling (although they concealed the “hard-selling” very well, under the name of the oath) . Eventually we decided to walk off, not just to cool off for a more sensible decision, but also we thought we need to know more about the breed itself, before committing ourselves to this new relationship, one which we had never experienced before.
We drove back to my parents place, which is just a stone’s throw away. Thanks to Google, we learnt more about Corgis in general, and the difference between Cardigan and Pembroke. We learnt about Corgis temperament in general, specifically their intelligence and stubbornness and that they are herding dogs by nature. We also educated ourselves with their general health, their history, etc. We absorbed a lot of knowledge about Corgis, than what the sales manager had tried to brain-washed us. Regardless, we liked what we had discovered. We also consulted a friend of us, who works in the Pet Industry, about the general dealing practice with such pet shops, including the “general valuation” of Corgis. (We were told it is between $2K to $3K)
We decided to go back to EPW after a few hours to see if we would still see Cody. There he was still lying quietly in his cubicle, but this time round playing with his fellow tri-coloured Corgi buddy/sibling. The sales manager upon seeing us, pounced on us like an eagle preying his target. He knew we were keen on bring him home, so he wasted no time in quoting a rocket sky price to us.
Sales Manager (EPW): Corgis are more expensive than others, because they are “premium” and they (pointing to Cody and his buddy/sibling) are pedigrees.
US: Ok, if we can afford him, we will like to bring him home
US: *hesitating* Oh, sorry I don’t think we can afford him. But it’s okay, we don’t want to bargain. I hope he will have better fate with the next potential owner.
EPW: Don’t worry! You can apply for 12 months free interest payment …
US: Oh, like we said …
EPW: *intercepting us* Ok, let me offer you $5000
US: But …
EPW: *taking out his calculator* I tell you what, I can give you discount, final price $4000
US: It is still beyond our budgt …
EPW: I tell you what, $3500 without GST, and you have to pay the GST.
US: I tell you what instead, I really hope him (Cody) can find a better owner who can afford him and give him a good life
EPW: Why don’t you tell me what’s your budget?
US: *Hesitating* (Even I know about the “General Market Valuation” of Corgis, I don’t want to tell him the lowest of the bracket I know, as I am not into bargaining) eh… looking not more than $3000
EPW: *Tap Tap on his calculator again* Okay, I can quote you $3000, but you really have to pay GST.
US: No, like I say, we can’t ….
EPW: Ok, lets do a deal now. $3000. You okay?
At this point, we had let our guards down totally, and our minds were already on how we are going to forge a life long relationship with Cody. We promptly accepted the offer. We asked if we could let Cody stayed with them for a few nights, while we tried to get the necessary logistic ready to welcome Cody home. (Another big mistake of ours!). We paid up, completed the necessary paper documents, and left EPW.
We decided to call our friend for further advise. He advised us to bring Cody home as soon as possible but he didn’t elaborate on why. That very night, we googled EPW. We read horror stories about the EPW, how some of the puppies ended up with poor health, etc. We were freaked out, so we made up our mind to go back to EPW the next day, to bring Cody home.
We approached the same friend of ours for assistance, since we were so new to all these procedures, and we wanted to be sure we would not continue to be taken for a ride. It is always good to have somebody experience to guide you along. And boy, were we glad we did.
Our friend followed us with his own mobile dog carriage. The sales manager was quite surprised to see us that very day. We told him about our intention, and he immediately retorted back, claiming that there’s a regulation from AVA where Cody was mandated to stay with them for at least 4 days before he could leave with us. For the record, according to the quarantine paper documents, Cody arrived at EPW on 6th, and we were trying to collect him on the 9th (a day after we paid up). Regardless, we were not convinced by the so-called AVA policy, and insisted that Cody to be taken out. There was a bit of argument there, and eventually the sales manager relented to our request unwillingly. I thought it was more because of his mind being preoccupied with trying to close other sales (it was a busy Sunday afternoon!).
Then came another astonishing question.
EPW: Do you want to pay this additional $200 *pointing to a document with some terms & conditions*. This is to protect you in case of anything happen to the dog, he died or has problem you don’t like, we will replace him with a dog with similar value.
EPW: If you don’t want to pay $200, then at least pay $50 (I can’t remember, but it’s significantly lesser) so if you bring him to see Vet in the first 7 days for unforseen circumstances, we will reimburse you for the medical fee.
US: No we decided not to have it. It doesn’t sound right (even if we could see this as an insurance)
EPW: Okay, nevermind, I will get my man to advise you what food or accessories you should buy for your (Cody).
My friend whispered to me. He told us we should not commit ourselves with those recommendation, especially given what he and us had seen. The assigned sales person walked us through their food and accessories shelves. He would stopped at certain brands, and would tell us how Cody had been eating them, and how we should continue the same diet for his own good. The key point here is most of the recommended items are not cheap, ranging from $50 to $300 (for the supplements). We respectfully rejected all his advises, although we decided to play nice by buying one packet of Eagles kibbles. (which wasn’t the original recommendation from the sales person). We were doing some mental calculation, that it would probably cost us more than $1000 if we had acceded to every recommendation the sales person gave.
When the sales person took the empty basket over from us (with just that one packet of Eagles kibbles) to the sales counter, he had a short chat with the sales manager. Immediately we saw a black face transformed instantly like a Chinese Sichuan opera face performer doing a face-changing act. From that moment onwards, it looked as if our transaction had fallen to the lowest priority of the queue. It took them much longer to process the sales transaction (of that one packet of kibbles), than they did a day ago on Cody’s transaction. Enough said!
Then my friend reminded me about the pedigree certificate. We asked, and again it took us a while before we could catch hold of the sales manager’s attention. He was rather impatient by then, and without any hesitation quoted us $1000 for the certificate. We were taken by surprised, including my friend who has never heard about a pedigree certificate had to be paid separately, and for such a exorbitant amount. Seeing that the argument was not going any where, we decided to cut short the conversation, and left EPW hastily. That was the last time we step in their shop, and we don’t think we are going back again based on the kind of experience we had undergone.
What’s your experience with this said warehouse?