Posted by: AubreyBartoBelow is an email conversation I had with a Mill Broker Regional Area Manager. This came after a complaint I send to my local mall about them. It may be confusing but the writing in black is the original email sent to me, the purple is my reply and the orange all caps in the response to me.
Mall management has forwarded me your complaint (below) so I felt it necessary to respond. My name is name omitted
and I'm the North East Regional Director for company name omitted
. First of all it's very important that you know I am a MAJOR animal lover like you. In addition to currently owning 3 Sugar gliders a cat and a dog I have grown up with more animals than I care to mention. I am also very involved with some not for profits that help rescue and care for animals. It is because I am such an animal lover that I understand the sentiment coming from you. In fact this company company name omitted
was literally founded with that premise in mind.
A little about how this company started:
Sugar Gliders have been in the US domestically for over 15 years, traditionally sold in pet shops. In my strong opinion it is VERY unethical to sell this animal in a pet shop for several reasons.
-This animal is only a good domestic pet if it is raised starting from a young age, roughly 8-12 weeks. Pet shops will sell them at any age.
Sugar Gliders need to stay with their parents until this time, yes. But a Sugar Glider is able to bond to at any age. If a Glider Comes from a rough past or undesirable home they may have a hard time bonding, but age does not matter.
IN OUR EXPERIENCE -WHICH IS VAST- IT IS MUCH EASIER TO BOND WITH A YOUNG BABY THAN AN ADULT. I'M SURPRISED YOU WOULD ARGUE THIS
-Pet shop employees have little knowledge about the proper care for sugar gliders. At best they will try to up sell you a book of information on sugar gliders and their care but they certainly don't require you to purchase it.
-They are giant corporations that will sell to ANYONE who has money and care very little about where the animals came from or who they are sold to. company name omitted is a Giant Corporation that will sell to anyone, all you have to do is sign a contract that can’t be upheld by company name omitted
. Local breeders require a questionnaire to ensure the potential owner is knowledgeable
YOU'RE MAKING ALOT OF FALSE ASSUMPTIONS HERE. WE ARE NOT A "GIANT CORPORATION," FAR FROM IT. YES, WE SELL MUCH MORE THAN YOUR AVERAGE LOCAL BREEDER BUT THERE ARE ONLY 3 PRINCIPLES IN THE COMPANY. THAT IS HARDLY A GIANT CORPORATION.
ALSO, FOR YOU TO SUGGEST THAT "LOCAL BREEDERS REQUIRE A QUESTIONNAIRE AND A CONTRACT" IS SILLY. 1ST OFF WE DO REQUIRE A CONTRACT AND WE DO TALK TO AND QUESTION ANY INTERESTED PARTIES. OBVIOUSLY YOU'VE NEVER PURCHASED FROM US SO YOU DON'T KNOW THE CHECKOUT PROCESS, BUT WE WON'T JUST SELL TO ANYONE. AS FOR QUESTIONNAIRES... YOU OBVIOUSLY CAN'T SPEAK ON BEHALF OF WHAT ALL OR EVEN MOST LOCAL BREEDERS DO. MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES A QUESTIONNAIRE MAKE? WE COULD GIVE PEOPLE A QUESTIONNAIRE, AND IT WOULDN'T MAKE YOU ANY MORE COMFORTABLE WITH OUR PROCESS. ON TOP OF THAT, MOST "LOCAL BREEDERS" OPERATE WITHOUT A USDA LICENSE AND AS SUCH AVOID REGULATIONS WHICH MEANS THEIR PRACTICES AREN'T EVEN LEGAL LET ALONE ACCOUNTABLE TO ANYONE.
When company name omitted
first started out we approached all the reputable breeders of these animals that were supplying the pet shops and had a rational conversation about the ethics of selling these animals in pet shops etc. Our whole idea was to place these animals that would ordinarily be sold to a pet shop into caring homes that would be empowered with information and support on the proper and most up to date care for them.
Who are the breeders you purchase from? Information should be provided on your website and to potential buyers.I think it is fair to be sure that the gliders are from a good breeder. WHY? DOES ANY BUSINESS PROVIDE THE INFO FOR ITS WHOLESALERS ON ITS WEBSITE??? WHY WOULD WE? WE DEAL WITH MANY BREEDERS, INCLUDING MANY OF THE "SMALL LOCAL ONES" THAT ARE IN THE GLIDER COMMUNITY AND BASH US ONLINE TO MAINTAIN A GOOD IMAGE WHILE SECRETLY SELLING TO US. YOU WOULD BE SHOCKED IF I GAVE YOU A LIST OF PEOPLE WHO SELL TO US, BECAUSE THEY'RE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO SHOUT THE LOUDEST ABOUT HOW AWFUL WE ARE. IT'S ALMOST COMICAL.
I understand that at first glance seeing us in a mall could raise some red flags. Let me tell you about our "selling" process. First off we have a VERY limited supply of animals available.Sugar gliders are marsupials, as such they breed very slowly only producing 1-4 babies a year. And up to four babies at once, this is not slow breeding. IT IS COMPARED TO OTHER SMALL PETS LIKE HAMSTERS AND GERBILS
We only sell animals 1 on 1 in locations like this mall because it is mandatory that we meet face to face EVERY potential owner of an animal. Unlike some shady folks on the Internet we would NEVER ship an animal. Shipping an animal is not inhumane, many reputable breeders ship gliders. It does not harm the animal or cause them stress when done correctly. I'M SHOCKED TO HEAR YOU SAY THIS. MAYBE YOU DON'T REALIZE THAT MANY ANIMALS DIE EACH YEAR FROM THIS PRACTICE. MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE THE BREEDERS YOU KNOW ARE SHIPPING ADULTS OR AREN'T TELLING YOU ABOUT THE ANIMALS THAT DIE. I CAN TELL YOU WE'VE HAD SEVERAL CUSTOMERS WHO'VE CONTACTED US OVER THE YEARS WHO SAW US AND THEN DECIDED TO ORDER FROM SOMEONE ONLINE ONLY TO GET SHIPPED A DEAD PET OR ONE THAT DIES WITHIN DAYS OF OWNING IT.
We definitely discriminate who is allowed to acquire an animal. We go OUT OF OUR WAY to avoid impulse buying. From experience, company name omitted does not turn people down; on top of they tell “facts” that makes owning a Sugar Glider seem cheap and easy. WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE BUYING FROM US? HOW WOULD YOU KNOW IF WE TURN PEOPLE DOWN? BOTTOM LINE YOU ARE WRONG.
IN MY EXPERIENCE OWNING A SUGAR GLIDER S CHEAP AND EASY COMPARED TO OTHER PETS LIKE DOGS ETC. I'M SURPRISED YOU WOULD ARGUE THIS FACT. IF WE MISREPRESENTED THE FACTS TO OUR CUSTOMERS SO MUCH WHY ARE THEY NOT MORE OUTRAGED WHEN THEY GET HOME AND FIND OUT THAT WE "MISREPRESENTED THE ANIMAL CARE." THE REASON IS, BECAUSE WE DON'T. YOU CAN MAKE THE CARE MORE DIFFICULT IF YOU'D LIKE, BUT THE REALITY IS WE HAVE A LOYAL GROUP OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CUSTOMERS WHO LOVE US AND THE INFO WE PROVIDE. THEY CONTINUE TO BUY STUFF FROM OUR WEBSITE EVERYDAY BECAUSE THEY THINK WE ARE GREAT. YOUR ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT MY COMPANY ARE BASED ON SPECULATIONS THAT ARE UNFOUNDED. I'M NOT SAYING THAT WE'VE NEVER HAD A UNHAPPY CUSTOMER (LIKE ANY BUSINESS), BUT THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY LOVE US AND CONTINUE TO BUY AND REFER US TO FRIENDS, THAT'S WHY WE'RE SO SUCCESSFUL.
Here are some examples of how we do this:
-Every potential customer is told to go home to do their due diligence before making a long term commitment. Trusting a potential buyer to do their own homework is no way to ensure they are informed. They need to be sat down and talked to about every point in Glider ownership EVERY POINT? COME ON... DO YOU REALLY THINK LOCAL BREEDERS ARE DOING THIS? MOST OF THE LOCAL BREEDERS FOLLOW US AROUND AND TRY TO POACH OUR CUSTOMERS AT THE MALL PROMISING BETTER PRICES ETC. DOES THAT SEEM LIKE THEY ARE GOING TO DISCRIMNATE SO MUCH. I THINK YOU'RE BEING NAIVE IF YOU THINK THIS IS TYPICAL FOR ANYONE SELLING PETS. IT'S A LOVELY IDEA, BUT IT'S JUST NOT REALISTIC.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, SITTINGSOMEONE DOWN AND TALKING TO SOMEONE ABOUT EVERY POINT AS YOU SUGGEST ALSO DOESN'T "ENSURE THEY ARE INFORMED." PERHAPS WE SHOULD MAKE THEM PASS A TEST WHICH PROVES THEY WERE LISTENING TO US WHEN WE SAT THEM DOWN.
WE DIN'T CREATE THE BUSINESS OF SELLING SUGAR GLIDERS (IT WAS AROUND WELL BEFORE US), AND IF WE LEFT TOMORROW THAT WOULD BE THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN FOR ALL THE SUGAR GLIDERS THAT ARE BRED EVERY YEAR BECAUSE THEN THERE WOULD BE NO WAY TO SELL THE ANIMALS PRODUCED AND GOD HELP THOSE POOR ANIMALS THAT NO ONE WANTS TO ADOPT. EVEN IF YOU HATE US, YOU HAVE TO REALIZE THAT WE'RE MUCH BETTER THAN THE ALTERNATIVE OF THEM BEING SOLD IN PET SHOPS AROUND THE COUNTRY WITH PRACTICALLY NO SUPPORT OF ANY KIND. YOU MAY DISAGREE WITH OUR ADVICE BUT THE FACT REMAINS THAT IT LITERALLY COMES FROM VETS AND SCIENTIFIC STUDIES, NOT SOME FACELESS PERSON WHO POSTS ON GLIDERCENTRAL AND THINKS THEY KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT GLIDERS, WHEN OFTEN THEY KNOW VERY LITTLE.
-Our website has all the information about these animals and how to care for them under a section called "Free Reports"
-We only sell animals with the COMPLETE setup which includes a veterinarian recommended cage and food/vitamins as well as all the supplies. The price point for a single setup is between $600-$1000 when all said and done. This is hardly "priced to move." The cages provided to customers are entirely way too small for one glider let alone two. Your cage size is 18x18x24 while recommended size in the glider community is 32" x 20" x 36" for one or two gliders. Also, there is no sleeping pouch provided and owners are suggested to have gliders sleep in a shirt. The diet plan provided to owners is also incorrect. The first 5 ingredient of Glide-R-Chow are DEHULLED SOYBEAN MEAL,CORN FLOUR,WHEAT MIDDLINGS,FRUCTOSE,CASEIN opposed to other alternatives such as Chicken Meal made from Human Grade Chickens, whole grain brown rice flour, whole grain barley flour, flaxseed oil, dried whole egg, oat groats, fish meal which is found in Suncoast Gliders dry food. In addition dry food is not a good staple and should be replaced with a diet such as Bourbons Modified Landbeater (BML), High Protein Wombaroo (HPW) or LGRS Suggie Soup. Aside from the staple, I understand that you sell Glide-R-Gravy which is HPW mix. That means it should be labeled and sold as HPW mix to ensure the Glider owner understand what they are feeding and how it affects their Glider. The suggestions for feeding fruits and veggies is hard to understand and leads the owners to believe that all the need to give is a slice of apple, bread, Glide-R-Gravy (HPW) and Chow. When In fact they should be feeding 1 tbsp. Gravy (HPW), 2 tbsp. of fruit and 2tbsp of veggies per glider a night. Finally, a suggestion that vitamins be “sprinkled” on the food is an incorrect way of measuring vitamins and is not suggested for even humans. Vitamins need to be given in specific measurements.
AGAIN YOU ARE MAKING FALSE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THE INFORMATION WE PROVIDE OUR CUSTOMERS. YOU'VE ONLY SEEN THE SALES PRESENTATION AND HEARD HERE SAY ON GLIDERCNETRAL THAT IS MOSTLY MADE UP ANYWAY. AGAIN ALL OUR INFORMATION COMES FROM VETS.
-Everyone who is going to buy an animal and has met our requirements must sign several contracts stating that they understand what they are getting themselves into etc. These contracts are very intense and sobering.
Once an animal is purchased from my company we stay in very close contact with all our customers. They receive our personal email addresses and cell numbers. They take home an audio CD that explains in great detail how to properly care for these animals. The CD is about an hour in length and covers all the important stuff. In addition to that, rather than giving them a big book of information the customer won't read, we have split up all the rest of the information that exists about these animals into a series of emails that are sent to the customers over the course of the next 30 days. Each email is designed to be only a couple pages so that the customer will actually read and digest the information. By the end of the month they have read over 100 pages of material on these animals making them a veritable expert. On top of that all our customers have access to the Family Circle portion of our website which has tons of videos, articles, and veterinary reports to further help to educate them. We also have a team of experts who respond to phone calls and emails 7 days a week 7am - 10 pm to deal with any other questions that could come up. It's because of all this that one of our customers (who happens to be a veterinarian) actually said to me personally that "he's never seen an animals sold so responsibly in all his life." He too was skeptical about us at first until he saw what we were about.
On top of all that we are fully licensed federally and locally to sell sugar gliders. These animals require special permits to sell and breed. While we ourselves don't technically do the breeding we are very close with the breeders and I can personally attest to the immaculate conditions of the breeding facilities. In fact, because you need these special permits both the breeders and the brokers are subject to frequent surprise inspections by federal regulators who monitors these matters. I wish more animals required this special permitting. That is why there is no such thing as a sugar glider "mill," because you can't just breed them in your basement like dogs and cats, you need special licenses that are very hard to obtain. There are places that conditions of the Sugar Gliders are poor just like any other animal. How do we know the conditions of the breeders you are purchasing from? I CAN TELL YOU IVE SEEN THE CONDITIONS AND THEY ARE IMMACULATE, LIKE A HOSPITAL. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BELIEVE ME BUT THE FACT REMAINS ITS TRUE. YOU THINK I'M GOING TO GET INTO THIS BUSINESS IF I DON'T LOVE ANIMALS. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT GOES INTO RUNNING AN OPERATION LIKE THIS? IF I DIDN'T LOVE THEE SUGAR GLIDERS I WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO STAND IT.
I personally met with the heads of Fish and Wildlife for NJ just this past week. They literally told me how impressed they were that they haven't heard of any issues with people needing to have their animals rescues or re homed and we have operated in NJ many times throughout the years.
The truth is we will rescue any Sugar Glider (whether we were the ones who sold it or not). All the people who work with us are HUGE Glider lovers and are always happy to adopt another animal (if it doesn’t cost them anything). It’s pretty rare that our customers are willing to give up their babies but on the few instances where we had someone who had a lifestyle change and can no longer care for their animals we are more than willing to take in another animal; in some cases even driving out of our way to pick them up. Just so you know we never sell or euthanize our rescues, EVER! Occasionally we will adopt them out to one of our experienced customers for free, but usually not.
All the information we provide comes directly from veterinarians who specialize in these animal; everything from diet, to cage size, to husbandry. As with any animal (and humans for that matter) there are some different opinions as to what is "best" for sugar gliders so we specifically follow the recommendations of the Association of Sugar Glider Veterinarians (ASGV.org) which is generally considered the authority on all things sugar glider. Feel free to check out their website. From some simple public research it appears that company name omitted has a direct link to ASGV or at least how it was founded. Dr. Brust may be a vet, who does see gliders...S&S Exotic Gliders to be exact, and he is financed through company name omitted and they all go in the same boat together. It is also apparent that the videos endorse the brand of products that company name omitted. This seems to be biased to me. A true vet would offer multiple options when owning a pet. If ASGV is not linked to mill brokers than why do they have so many websites that they have been known as?
YOU'D HAVE TO ASK THEM. BUT THE IDEA THAT THEY OWNING MANY WEBSITES SOMEHOW IMPLICATES THEM IN MILL BREEDING IS A STRETCH TO SAY THE LEAST. YOUR EMAIL SHOWS THAT YOU ARE AN INTELLIGENT PERSON, CERTAINLY YOU SEE THIS ARGUMENT IS ILLOGICAL. WHILE WE DO USE THE ASGV'S INFORMATION THE FACT IS THEY ARE NOT FINANCED IN ANY WAY BY US AND I GUARANTEE THERE IS NO CREDIBLE PUBLIC RESEARCH TO SHOW OTHERWISE. THERE WAS A LOCAL BREEDER IN FL WHO TRIED TO REGISTER THE ASGV AS A company name omitted ENTITY IN AN ATTEMPT TO FRAME US, BUT THE REALITY IS IT WAS JUST SOMEONE TRYING TO MAKE US LOOK BAD. DO A LITTLE MORE RESEARCH AND YOU'LL FIND OUT THE TRUTH. THE ASGV HAS OVER 1000 VET MEMBERS, DO YOU THINK WE CONTROL ALL OF THEM? THEY ARE CALLED SUGAR BEARS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD, THAT'S WHERE THE NAME CAME FROM. IF YOU SEARCH FOR SUGAR BEARS YOU'LL FIND PLENTY OF INFORMATION. THE FACT IS EVEN OUR OWN BROCHURES SAY THEY'RE ALSO CALLED SUGAR GLIDERS. WE WERE ABLE TO BUY THE DOMAIN *site banned* SO WE WENT WITH IT... WHATS WRONG WITH THAT?
If it so happens that you are one of those animal people who doesn't believe in people owning pets under any circumstances then I guess you and I simply disagree. I personally own 2 Glider, a lab, and a rescue cat. Sugar gliders make incredible pets for the RIGHT PEOPLE. This is the point, how can you adopt out Sugar Gliders to the right people when they have the wrong information. Such as: Gliders are not good to have with other pets, they are not good for young children either. On your website you promote these two aspects when in reality it is extremely dangerous.
MOST OF OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE OTHER PETS AND MANY HAVE YOUNG CHILDREN AND ITS NEVER BEEN A PROBLEM.
Just a fascinating little tidbit, sugar gliders in the wild have an avg lifespan of less than 8 years. In captivity, the animals we place in homes tend to live 10-15 years. This is great if they are living good lives. If they are traveling in small, overcrowded cages being picked up and held when they should be sleeping and being put with sick gliders, what kind of life is that? IF THAT WERE TRUE THEY WOULDN'T LIVE 10-15 YEARS, OBVIOUSLY.
Again, while I understand and appreciate the sentiment behind your knee jerk reaction to company name omitted
, I hope this email clears up some of the misconceptions.