People find entire box of live fish while dumpster-diving behind PetSmart

JHVEPhoto/ShutterStock @ugckatehahn32/TikTok (Licensed)

‘I am never buying at PetSmart again’: Dumpster divers find entire box of live fish at PetSmart

‘This is unforgivable.’


Melody Heald


Posted on May 16, 2023   Updated on May 16, 2023, 1:21 pm CDT

A woman made a startling discovery when she and a friend went dumpster diving behind PetSmart: a box full of live Betta fish.

In a roughly 30-second video, Kate (@ugckatehahn32) showed viewers the box of fish. As of Tuesday morning, her video had over 6.9 million views. 

@ugckatehahn32 Found this in the dumpster at my local Petsmart. #dumpsterdiving ♬ original sound – Kate :)

“This is our first time dumpster diving, and we just found an entire box of live fish,” Kate said while picking up a jar containing one. Throughout the video, she picked up a handful of jars—all filled with both living fish and blue liquid. According to her video’s caption, Kate found the fish in the dumpster of a PetSmart in Idaho.

“Oh my God,” she said. “This is so sad.”

In a follow-up video, Kate shared the details behind her discovery. The content creator said she decided to dumpster dive at PetSmart because she heard stories about the store tossing away “bags full of dog food, collars, leashes, and stuff that could’ve been donated.” While looking for these items, however, she said she stumbled across a box labeled “live fish.” Out of curiosity, she said she and a friend opened the box and discovered the Betta fish. 

Kate said that she initially didn’t know what to do, as she couldn’t “top off the cups” with water because the fish required “special drops.” She also said that she couldn’t house that many fish herself. With both PetSmart and Petco closed at the time of her discovery, she posted a video of the fish to Snapchat, alerting anyone who viewed it. 

@ugckatehahn32 Replying to @Chase ↯ ♬ original sound – Kate :)

But, eventually, Kate said she stumbled across PetSmart employees heading to their cars. Seizing the opportunity, she said she told them about the fish in the dumpsters, which she said left the workers shocked. The employees, she said, claimed the fish in the dumpster was a mistake, and one ultimately ended up taking them home.

“I really hope it was a mistake. I hope they take it seriously and whoever made this mistake is let go,” Kate concluded.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time someone stumbled upon live animals tossed in a dumpster at PetSmart. In 2021, a content creator said she discovered a box of hamsters abandoned at a Pennsylvania PetSmart. And in 2015, a Facebook video showing plastic bags full of live fish discarded in a Phoenix-based PetSmart went viral. The treatment of animals prompted PETA to do an investigation into PetSmart.

A number of viewers, too, said they planned to boycott the pet store following Kate’s discovery.

“I am never buying at PetSmart again. Terrible,” one viewer wrote. 

“Ugh, guess I’m never spending money at petsmart again,” a second echoed.

“Boycotting PetSmart rn,” another viewer said.

“This is unforgivable,” a fourth remarked.

Update 11:00am CT, May 16: When reached for comment, PetSmart told the Daily Dot in a statement: “We are pet parents too and nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of pets in our care. Our team reached out to the individual who posted the video, as we are actively looking into this situation.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Kate via Instagram and TikTok comment.

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*First Published: May 16, 2023, 9:05 am CDT