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Here's why people from Toronto want PetSmart to stop selling tortoises and snakes

A new petition to get pet store chain PetSmart to stop selling exotic animals is making its rounds thanks to an animal advocacy group from Toronto that worries about the fate of such creatures after people realize the amount of work required to properly care for them.

World Animal Protection this week issued a demand for PetSmart to stop carrying reptiles like snakes and tortoises, especially given that the company already decided to cease the sale of kittens and puppies (the brand now works with local rescues to adopt out homeless cats, dogs, birds, rabbits and other pets).

"PetSmart contributes to the cruel multi-billion-dollar trade that exploits wild animals on an industrial scale. The snakes, lizards, tortoises, and frogs you see at PetSmart are wild animals suffering in the trade," the petition reads.

"These animals are treated as mere merchandise with a complete disregard for their individual needs throughout their lives until, in many cases, they suffer an early death."

The group notes the reason behind PetSmart's move to prohibit the sale of other types of animals at its stores: the high euthanasia rates of unwanted cats and dogs that people either received as gifts, or realized after purchasing that they weren't able to take care of.

"Now it's reptiles and amphibians that are facing suffering and high mortality rates," they say.

As the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre points out, pets like turtles are serious commitments that are very difficult to provide an adequate quality of life for, and many owners don't realize how long such animals can live, how much they require and how large they will grow.

Poaching specifically for the pet trade has also been devastating to certain species, as has the tendency for failed owners to abandon their exotic pets by releasing them into the wild.

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