Timeline of Events
On September 7, 2011, a manager emailed a PETCO corporate manager around 9:30 a.m. about closing the store early. Around 2 p.m., the manager and another employee discovered that a state of emergency was in effect. Another manager saw that a nearby road was already closed and concluded that "the storm was going to be bad."
Then a senior manager decided to close the store at 3:30 p.m. "and send the employees home." At about 4 p.m., officials issued a flood warning for the nearby river and forecast flooding of "RECORD SEVERITY" just upstream of Johnson City.
Just 30 or so minutes later, PETCO bosses locked up the store and drove away. When PETCO managers left all those animals behind that day—helpless in cages from which they had no way to escape—there was an active federal warning that "RAPID FLOODING OF … CREEKS …AND POOR DRAINAGE AREAS [WAS] LIKELY." The store, as the employees knew, is near a creek and in a plaza prone to severe flooding.
But no one had evacuated the animals.
Shortly thereafter, a manager discovered an evacuation order for the store and surrounding streets. Hours passed. The animals remained, trapped and alone, in the store.
Around 9:30 p.m., another manager concluded that the store may flood, perhaps because she knew that a store near PETCO flooded in 2006—a flood that officials were saying would be surpassed by what was to come. At 10:05 p.m., officials forecast flooding of record severity just downstream of Johnson City.
Still, no animals were removed.
Another manager knew that PETCO's neighbor had been "flooded out" in 2006—she knew that the 2011 flooding was forecast to be even worse. At about 12:15 a.m. on September 8, 2011, she called the senior manager to say that she was "concerned that the animals might be under water." Was this enough to help the animals? No.
The senior manager "did not seem concerned that the animals were in danger." At least five hours had passed since the store was ordered evacuated. The animals hadn't been moved.
Around 6:40 a.m. on September 8, 2011, the senior manager found the store covered with water. Imagine the terror and suffering that the animals experienced as the water level rose and they drowned, all because this multibillion-dollar company and no less than seven PETCO corporate, senior, and other managers and employees could not be bothered to get them out of harm's way.
It was not until about 2 p.m. on September 9, 2011—more than 45 hours after PETCO managers turned their backs on these animals—that the senior manager and a PETCO corporate manager went into the store and found that ferrets, birds, snakes, rodents, and other animals had drowned. These animals' lives and deaths were apparently so trivial to PETCO that the senior manager couldn't be bothered to count the victims. PETCO corporate representatives just estimated that nearly 100 animals had died.