Local Walmart Lets Fish Die, Company Calls It 'Unacceptable'

Morristown business owner buys out remaining 'least sick' fish after an hour of unanswered questions to Flanders store associates.

Darkened tanks at Flanders Walmart with fish still in them. Photo Courtesy Dina Ely.
Darkened tanks at Flanders Walmart with fish still in them. Photo Courtesy Dina Ely.

A Morristown business owner discovered a cruel scene at Walmart Wednesday when they saw a dozen tanks without power, dirty and filled with dead fish.

Donna Lohmeyer, owner of The Golden Pineapple at The Shops at 14 Pine St., was in the store with her 2-year-old grandson when she decided to bring him over to the live fish tanks.

“It was a nightmare,” she said.

And "unacceptable," according to a Walmart spokeswoman.

Patch contacted Walmart’s corporate office in Arkansas Thursday and was initially told the store stopped selling fish “months” ago. Photos of the tanks and their condition Wednesday that were taken by Dina Ely, Lohmeyer’s daughter, were provided to corporate office for proof.

Several hours later, Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whiting responded to Patch and said the tanks had since been cleaned. 

“This is unacceptable,” Whiting said. “There are protocols in place that were not followed, and associates (in the pet department) will be retrained immediately.”

Lohmeyer, a frequent Walmart shopper, said the tanks were without power and all filtration systems were removed. But there were still fish in those tanks.

“Most (fish) were dead, and rotting in the tanks,” she said. “Many were still swimming—starving, freezing, choking on foul water full of ammonia and algae.”

This wasn’t a new revelation, however. Lohmeyer said other customers were in the live pet area of the store, and told her they noticed the power went off more than a week ago. The water temperature in the tanks was 64 degrees, she said.

Lohmeyer sought the store manager and was told he was unavailable and out of the building. The pet department manager was “on break” for the hour she was there, Lohmeyer said. The customer—and admitted Walmart stockholder—waited for more than an hour for an associate to come and help them.

Lohmeyer and her family bought the remaining “least sick” fish, which happened to be small catfish.

The Walmart spokeswoman was told by the store’s associates that new fish had not been ordered in “a while,” and it was not yet determined if they would continue to sell them. The store reassesses inventory based on customer demands, she said.

No associates at the Flanders store location were reprimanded because of the incident, Whiting said.

Michael January 17, 2014 at 09:58 AM
Even if you don't care about the fish themselves it's still disgusting to have dead fish rotting in tanks in your store and not something you want your kids to see when you take them to the pet department to see the "fishies"
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 17, 2014 at 10:20 PM
Their fish. don't be a wus.
Margaret January 19, 2014 at 08:12 AM
It's a disgrace.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 19, 2014 at 09:17 AM
Let me guess, you want to make a fish law to show how humane you are. Call your congressman and make that law. You will be remembered for you goodness and selflessness. We can hire a government fish inspector and increase taxes on the rich to pay for him. oh we will need a fish department, then an office and a computer, office furniture, and a building, and a car to drive around and inspect fish, then insurance for the car, we need to have a manager for the fish inspector, then we need a second fish inspector so the first can go on vacations and we can maintain coverage.
Alice Jameson January 19, 2014 at 09:47 AM
Now “I Plead,” put down the gun and step away from the flies whose wings ye been pulling off. No one’s asking fer more laws, just some common decency. Personally, I’ve got no love for rodents, fish or reptiles, but I’d not want to see them suffer. If it’s not profitable for the Wal-Mart to care for the fish humanely, they should discontinue the sale of the wee creatures.


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