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PetSmart becomes latest company to face backlash over Pride merchandise

Another brand-name company is facing backlash over LGBTQ merchandise and promotions.

Some social media users recently aimed their ire at PetSmart for boasting about its all-new “You Are Loved” collection of 2023 Pride-themed clothing, toys and other items for pet owners’ four-legged friends.

The collection, unveiled just ahead of June’s Pride Month, includes rainbow-hued items such as dog bikinis, butterfly cat leashes and reptile cape costumes.

While PetSmart has celebrated Pride since 2019, according to a company news release on May 2, some online critics bashed the company this month and called for a boycott similar to what other brands like Bud Light and Target are facing.

“From the ‘Pride Shop’ at Petsmart. ‘You are loved PRIDE Dog Dress and Bikini,’ This is unacceptable. Please boycott,” one Twitter user blasted out.

PetSmart is selling Pride items in support of the LGBTQ community.
Pet Samet

“Add @petsmart to the boycott list,” another user tweeted with a photo that appears to show an in-store collection of 2023 Pride gear for pets.

“To @PetSmart – Congratulations!  We just added PetSmart to our permanent boycott list,” someone else tweeted.

And another account tweeted, “Looks like we can add @PetSmart to the ever-growing list of places to not buy from.”

PetSmart Pride collection
The collection includes rainbow-hued items such as dog bikinis, butterfly cat leashes and reptile cape costumes.

Other social media users panned the outrage directed at the chain store with one person calling the anger “pathetic.”

“How pathetic. PetSmart always has #Pride merchandise,” the person tweeted in response to a Newsweek story about the backlash. “My dog’s favorite toy is a crinkle rainbow I bought several years ago.”

Another social media user commended the store’s commitment to Pride Month.

The items have led some on social media to express outrage.
Pet Samet

“Good for you, @petsmart, for standing firm in your support of all people whoever they are and whoever they love,” the tweet stated. “Our dogs will greatly enjoy their #Pride ‘donuts!’”

Another social media user sarcastically tweeted, “Be careful out there fellow cat owners – petsmart may turn them queer during Pride.”

PetSmart is “proud to elevate the voices and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community,” Kristin Shane, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in the May 2 statement.

“Our You Are Loved collection was initiated and inspired by our associate resource group team members to help pet parents and their pets celebrate the spirit of Pride and share our values of inclusion and unconditional love,” she added.

PetSmart also announced a $200,000 donation to GLSEN, an LGBTQ advocacy group that has also faced criticism in recent days for pressuring school districts to not tell parents if their children identify as another gender.