Video Store’s Dumpsters Stuffed With Dog Beds

“It’s funny they’d create more waste instead of giving it a second chance.”

Lauren Wellbank - Author
Petco dog bed controversy
Source: yourmomismyfriend72/TikTok, Getty Images

Pet supply retailer Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc. (aka: Petco) is facing intense backlash after a video taken behind one of its retail locations went viral on TikTok. The clip appears to feature the destruction and dumping of otherwise undamaged products that had been removed from shelves to make room for new stock.

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And, it’s not just the obvious waste of materials that has critics upset about the video. It’s also the callous lack of consideration for all of the shelter animals that could’ve benefited by these materials being donated instead of destroyed. Read on to learn more about the controversy surrounding Petco’s decision to destroy dog beds, including why this isn’t exactly an uncommon way for stores to deal with their unsold merchandise.

Shelter dog sleeping in a plastic tub
Source: Getty Images

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Viral video shows Petco destroying unsold dog beds.

A video that has been posted by @yourmomismyfriend72, whose real name appears to be Andy, is making the rounds on TikTok because it appears to show several dumpsters filled with dog beds. While it may have originally been the overflowing bins of unsold stock that caught Andy’s eye, it was what he discovered when he got closer to the dumpsters that made him pull out his phone and start recording.

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According to Andy, each of the beds that had been thrown away were first cut with razor blades, rendering them completely unusable by both the dogs that may need them, and their human counterparts who may not be able to afford to purchase them new. Andy was outraged by this discovery, and posted the video for his followers, who quickly joined in his frustrations and shared their own thoughts as well.

“It’s funny they’d create more waste instead of giving it a second chance after the clearance,” user @lux commented, adding how a family who wanted a dog but couldn’t afford the supplies could benefit from something like this. Meanwhile another person expressed their frustration over the fact that these supplies could’ve very easily been donated to a local rescue instead.

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“My dog was living in a concrete shelter without a bed,” user @pecgod wrote. “This breaks my heart. Rescuing her was the best decision of my life.” Indeed, this could’ve gone a long way in helping shelters in Chicago (where the video was filmed) by giving them some much needed support by way of donations. Often, these underfunded facilities can only provide the basics, and sadly, that doesn’t normally include beds.

And that’s something that dogs in particular would’ve especially benefited from, since they make up a large chunk of the shelter population in the Windy City. According to Chicago Animal Care & Control, 14,421 animals wound up in shelters in 2023, and of those more than half were dogs. Even if Petco only sent over a handful of those beds, that could’ve made all the difference in the world to the pups who got a chance to use them.

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Why do stores destroy unsold goods?

While plenty of former Petco employees chimed in on Andy’s post to share their own stories about being forced to destroy unsold merch, this type of practice isn’t isolated to pet stores. Instead, it’s quite common with all types of retailers. For example, fashion houses are known for destroying clothes by either slashing them or pouring corrosive chemicals on them, while stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods stand accused of similarly destructive behavior, like snapping golf clubs in half.

As to the why, well, it seems like that has more to do with the company’s bottom line than anything else. It would appear in most cases that companies can get a better tax write-off for damaged goods — yes, even those destroyed on purpose — than they could if they donated them. That’s a no-brainer for many in corporate America, but it obviously leaves the rest of us scratching our heads over the ethics of destroying perfectly good products, especially when there are so many people (and pets) in need.

It also raises questions about the validity of some of these same companies and their commitment to the environment — like Petco’s pilot program from 2023, which the Chain Store Age blog says allowed customers to drop off certain types of plastic waste at the store so that they could be recycled and diverted from landfills as part of a sustainability initiative — and whether they can remain true to those commitments when it might have a negative impact on their bottom dollar.