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Petsmart to open adoption center

Petsmart will open a Luv-a-Pet Adoption Center on Oct. 17, but the puppies and kitties will be strays brought in from Pasco County.

That's because Pinellas County humane organizations chose not to participate in the pet supply chain's program in fear too many people would adopt animals on impulse.

"We saw too many problems, including our ability to get enough volunteers to staff a center week after week," said Rick Chaboudy, director of the Humane Society of North Pinellas.

The pet supply supermarket, which plans six Tampa Bay stores eventually, donates kennel space and telephone service to animal groups. The groups have to supply their own volunteers to handle adoptions. The first center has been empty since Petsmart opened near Countryside Mall two months ago.

The SPCA of West Pasco Inc. in New Port Richey agreed to take the space in the Clearwater store after the Humane Society of North Pinellas and others declined. The adoption center will be open Saturdays only.

Phoenix-based Petsmart, which refuses to sell dogs and cats, uses the center as a marketing tool. But the company also says it is responding to complaints from animal-protection groups about the so-called "pet mills" that supply many competitors.

Petsmart advertises the centers as a pet overpopulation alternative to agencies that must kill unadopted strays by lethal injection.