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Petco agrees to pay $1.75-million in settlement and to improve pricing, animal-care policies [Updated]

June 2, 2010 |  1:18 pm

La Jolla-based Petco Animal Supplies Inc. has agreed to pay $1.75 million to settle a consumer complaint action filed by prosecutors in five counties, San Diego prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Without admitting fault, the company agreed to improve conditions for for-sale animals, to keep price tags on products current and to give employees better training on weighing items sold in bulk, such as dog biscuits and other treats.

Also, anyone who has been overcharged can receive a $3 discount.

The company approved a similar $850,000 settlement in 2004. “It’s unfortunate that the settlement with Petco six years ago wasn’t a wake-up call for the company," said San Diego County Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis.

The district attorney's office handled the case, along with the San Diego city attorney's office and prosecutors in Marin, Los Angeles, San Mateo and Santa Barbara counties. The settlement was approved Wednesday in San Diego County Superior Court.

[Updated at 3 p.m.: A spokesman for Petco said that many of the specific allegations about pricing are several years old and that "we've made significant improvements in the price siding" in recent years. Kevin Whalen, vice president for communciation, also said the allegations about care of the for-sale pets were not proved and "we pride ourselves on treating these animals well."]

-- Tony Perry in San Diego