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Petco ends sale of shock collars, calls on competitors to do the same

Petco's CEO said "Electricity may be critical to powering your microwave, but it has no role for the average pet parent training their dog."

WASHINGTON — Petco will no longer be selling specific types of electronic shock collars, instead, it is encouraging pet owners to use positive reinforcement training methods, according to a statement from the company on Tuesday.

The move is part of a corporate rebranding plan for early 2021 to move from Petco to "Petco The Health + Wellness Co." For years, animal rights groups have opposed using shocks collars because they cause pets to be anxious, fearful and raise stress levels.

"Electricity may be critical to powering your microwave, but it has no role for the average pet parent training their dog," said Petco CEO Ron Coughlin in a statement. "As a health and wellness company, our mission is focused on improving pet lives and we think selling shock collars does the opposite."

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Petco has removed all human- and bark-activated electronic pet collars from store shelves and its website, the company said. When searching on the company's website for "shock collar," a message comes up with the reasonings behind no longer sells the items with a letter from the CEO.

CNN reported that $10 million of Petco's 2019 $4.4 billion sales were from shock collars alone.

Petco is encouraging pet parents to try its newly launched online training program that offers positive reinforcement training methods. It's even offering private and in-home training classes.

The company is also calling on the industry and consumers to join the movement #StopTheShock to create new "guidelines, engage in responsible self-regulation and consider legislative change for the retail sale of certain shock collars to general consumers." The company launched an online petition, which as of Thursday morning had more than 36,000 signatures.

Credit: AP
This Nov. 12, 2018, photo, shows a store sign at a Petco store in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

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