Pet store inspections ruffle feathers statewide
Unannounced inspections of 22 pet stores between June and July of this year by the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures revealed a variety of violations, ranging from inaccurate scales to businesses using scales that were missing tamper-proof security seals.
Inspections also revealed that almost half of the stores using a cash register scanner had at least one overcharge per transaction, though more often undercharges benefiting the consumer were found. Department records show inspectors also audited the weight of individual bags and boxes of dog and cat food to verify every pound paid for was accurate.
"Pet owners spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars each year on their dogs and cats," said Kevin Tyne, Director of the Department of Weights and Measure. "It's imperative that pet supply retailers provide consumers with clear and concise pricing on the shelves and scanning accuracy at the cash register. Equally important is verifying that manufactures of pet food are meeting or exceeding the stated weight of their products and that their quality control measures were in place."
State and federal law requires that the packaging materials of food items be deducted from the price of the commodity. In all, of the pet stores that were audited for packaging compliance, three locations (eight bags of dog food and six bags of cat food) were found to be short weight. Once discovered, these items were removed from sale.
The scales utilized by retailers were also inspected. State investigators tested a total of 12 scales. Four were found out of tolerance (benefitting the consumer) and two pet stores were utilizing scales missing the required tamper-proof security seals.
With regards to pricing, five pet food businesses were found without required pricing. The store was required to price any products missing a price within 30 minutes or remove the item from the floor.
"Kind of a heads up to everybody else, listen, we're coming," said Shawn Marquez, Director of Compliance Programs. "Be on your toes, get your pricing right, put prices on items and we won't have a problem."
Sandra Haros , Reporter