Employee of Virginia's Royal Pet Shop Speaks Out
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org


Decmber 2005


I started working at the Royal Pet Shop & Kennel (located in Northern Virginia, USA) in January 2005. From the moment I started I thought there was something weird about the place.
The owner gets his puppies from different breeders who fax him lists of the puppies they have available. The breeders are all over the country from Kansas, North Carolina, South Dakota. He even got some puppies from a guy that just came by with a litter of mixed puppies.

He doesn't give registration papers for any of the dogs as he claims they are meant for pets, and not sold as show dogs. I truly believe it is because not all of the dogs he claims are purebred are far from purebred.


1. There was a shitzhu that he marked as a pure breed, but as time went on, the dog's fur grew out a different color. This forced the owner to mark the pup as a shitzhu-mix. 

2. He had a pair of silky terriers that had been there before I started and were still there when I left. When I had left they had been there for over 5 months as he had gotten them in the beginning of October. He started marking the price down on them and people came to look at them but as soon as they found out how old they were they were not interested as these dogs were nearly full grown and would probably be harder to train as they had grown up in the pet store and had no training whatsoever.

Free Owner Check-Up Scam

When he sells a dog he gives the new owner a free health check up at three area vets: Fort Hunt, Hayfield and Crosspointe. I know that he has such a relationship with Fort Hunt that if something were wrong with the animal I don't believe they would be honest about it. I got a dog from him and took him to Fort Hunt and they told me he was fine.

However, when I had my fiance's cousin, a veterinarian for the Roanoke Zoo look at him he told us he had worms! So even though I was an employee they weren't honest with me, or they just didn't know. I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I brought in a fecal sample that would have revealed the parasites.

The Kennel

As far as the kennel aspect of Royal Pet Shop, that is where I believe he is making the most money in the most dishonest way. People would bring in dogs and tour the kennel and he would show them his "show" room as there is one room that had a set of kennels that were almost never used and they were in much better condition than the other rooms. People would see this room and think "Oh, this is nice!" and they would agree to board their dogs with him. The customers would sign a page long contract that if they would actually take the time to read, reveals that "Royal Pet Shop and Kennel reserves the right to change the kennel size at their discretion."

I can assure you that we always used our discretion and put dogs in smaller kennels than their owners didn't request - yet paid for. I actually got reprimanded for putting a dog in the largest run as the owner requested when I checked them in as David, the El Salvadorian employee who speaks very little English, told me "No, this dog go #28," which was a small 3x5 kennel.

Employee Abuse

David who has worked for Jack for 8 years, works as best as he can in order to send money home to his family in El Salvador. The owner not only takes advantage of the animals he sells, but also any employees that seemed desperate for work.
David is in charge of the kennel and cleaning the bowls and mats and kennels. He would get constant orders and abuse by the owner. When David was not near, he would try to make jokes about El Salvador and roaches.

The only other full time employee is Irina, who is here on a work visa from Romania and she pretty much does what Jack wants because she has a son to support while her husband is here going to school. He is sometimes spotted being very rude to by customers walking into the store.

Dogs Not Walked

Dogs need to be walked. Plain and simple. The dogs at the Royal Pet Store & Kennel are barely let out. The kennel claims they are allowed out at least 4 times during their stay, but that is false advertising. Most of the time, I would be asked to walk them - specifically only once a day. The "walk" is basically letting them out on the grassy area to eliminate only.

There are 5 fenced in areas on the side of the building where dogs are permitted out. It was my responsibility to walk the dogs in the evenings which meant I would put 5 dogs outside and take one on a five minute walk around the back of the parking lot in a little grassy area. When I was done with the walk I would take the five dogs that were outside and put them back in their kennels and do it all over again until they were all done.

Dehydration and Starvation

There were times when certain dogs were given only a limited amount of water overnight so they wouldn't make a huge mess of the kennels. Some dogs went without water until I discovered their bowl was bone-dry. I made it a point to fill all the water bowls regardless of what I was told as dogs need a substantial amount of water.

The puppies he sells are only allowed water from rabbit or ferret water bottles rather than a bowl. This lead to dehydration quite frequently as they can only get a limited amount of water out at a time and there are sometimes two and three dogs fighting over one water bottle. In fact, the dog I purchased from them is still getting used to always having water in a bowl and he will still sometimes drink all of it and I believe it is for fear he may not get anymore.


One day Irina was in heavy confrontation with a customer who bought a Yorkshire Terrier. The dog suffered a long time at the kennel before dying. When those who knew of this dog asked Jack about the animal, Jack said he nursed it back to health and gave it back to its owner.

Right before I left we had sold a Yorkie to a man who bought it as a Valentine's gift for his girlfriend and she ended up spending Valentine's Day at the Vet Clinic with the dog. The Yorkie had severe pneumonia and desperately needed oxygen. The whole ordeal ended up costing the couple over $1200.00. The owner gave her store credit to cover the cost as she took it to the vet within the 7 days given for the free health check up. He did not bother reimbursing her, but instead he gave her store credit for the amount up to the price of the dog, which was $929.00.

*Amanda left the Royal Pet Shop & Kennel not long after these incidents, citing the abuse the animals suffered there was too much to handle.

Take Action!

The Royal Pet Shop & Kennel was "Voted "Best Pet Shop in Alexandria" four years in a row.
As featured on Channel 7 WUSA Consumer Report - "What to look for in a pet shop".

Tell Channel 7 WUSA what you think of their vote and what this employee has revealed:

4100 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
Phone: (202) 895-5999

Contact Jack at the Royal Pet Shop & Kennel
5916B North Kings Highway
Alexandria, VA  22303
(703) 354-7222
Fax: (703) 317-9067

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