Pet shops under SPCA scrutiny

SPCA animal welfare inspectors are making regular visits to a chain of Auckland pet stores following concerns about the welfare of its animals.

Complaints about unclean enclosures, kittens with fur covered in faeces and other health and safety concerns have been received from members of the public about PetStop, which has branches in Mt Eden, Onehunga and Newmarket.

A woman contacted through the company's website, who did not want to be named, told the Herald on Sunday that SPCA inspectors had visited every week to follow up complaints.

She said staff were given two weeks' training before starting the job and were always 100 percent co-operative with SPCA inspectors.

She could not supply the name or any details of the owners of the company.

Auckland SPCA acting inspectorate team leader Vicki Border confirmed staff would visit the stores often.

The level of care had improved but it could still be better, she said.

The SPCA has limited powers to intervene, because there are no specific rules about who can open and run pet stores in New Zealand.

Shops are bound by the Animal Welfare Act, which says those responsible for animals must meet their "physical, health and behavioural needs".

This means the SPCA can remove animals from pet shops if they believe they are not being cared for and force shops to comply with the act.

Ms Border said the SPCA was considering calling on MPs to amend the law so licences would be needed to open pet stores.