You are reading

Pets Unlimited a Halloween Must for Many

Photo: Sunnyside Post

Oct. 31, 2011 By Christian Murray

Pets Unlimited, located at 45-10 46th street, was the place to be for many kids this Halloween.

A massive line of children, with parents in tow,  patiently waited outside the store for their turn to collect a little plastic bag with water and a goldfish inside.

The store owner Steve De Simone was keeping to tradition by giving away at least 3,000 goldfish every Halloween. Pets Unlimited has been giving away thousands of goldfish every Halloween for nearly 50 years.

De Simone has been doing it since 1973.

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 
Sunnyside property owner. Not a yuppie renter.

As a property owner and life long resident of Sunnyside (47 years), I have always been a patron at Pets Unlimited. Steve is a great guy and business owner. I have obtained all of my pets from Steve over the years, everything from fish to birds to dogs and rabbits. All of his pets are healthy and well taken care of. Although the store does have a smell to it, it is he smell that you will get in any pet store, the only difference is that Steve’s place is smaller and the ventilation isn’t that great. Giving out goldfish has brought smiles to hundreds, possibly thousands of youth in the community. His dogs do not come from puppy mills, and the dogs are very well taken care of. Adoption would be the best choice for dogs and cats but some people just can’t adopt due to health issues where they need a hypoallergenic dog. Should these people not have pets? I would hate to see a site like this lead the the closing of a great business. Steve and his pet shop are both staples in this community and will be for a very long time. Many some of you should stop talking down on Steve and pets unlimited, and possibly go out and try to create something better. Maybe open an adoption center so that more people know about adoption in the neighborhood. Just try doing something else with your time than put a great man out of business.

The Pets

On November 9, at 11 PM on Channel 4 news, there will be a report about puppy mills. I’m sure it will provide much reassurance–NOT.

Anyone who thinks the parakeets are okay consider them the next time you are stuck on a packed #7 train that has been delayed…and you would like to sit down but you can’t because there is no room, and the delay is so long that everyone is starting to get cranky with each other. Now imagine spending every day like that until (if you’re lucky) someone rescues, oh I mean, buys, you.


Have always passed on the Hallowe’en goldfish at Pets Unlimited. Steve is a good neighbor and might as well be the “mayor” of that little section of 46th St. Am looking forward to his airing that Christmas music sometime after Thanksgiving as he has in the past. Steve and his right-hand man, Junior are decent people. Am hoping that Pets Unlimited will be around for many years to come.


There is steve (the white guy) and this Hispanic guy that are there every day. The Hispanic guy is really nice and always does the right thing. Steve is the problem.


Dianne Ballek what a wonderful story, We need to be positive about this store and all the good deeds that Steve has done over the years and for our community. alot of people cannot get out to a shelter or leave our town to get a dog or a cat so It is great that he provides that service to our town. We have had such bad luck with business over the years going outof business Steve mush be dong something great to be in business this long. Bravo to him.

We have many happy stories to tell here. We should be a happy town and stop complaning. The holidays are upon us. Where is our spirit and joy and peace. Take it out of your pocket and your heart and show it off and be kind to others.

Long time resident

nice guy, no idea if he’s running a puppy mill

It’s not a question of whether or not he’s running a puppy mill (as far as we know, he doesn’t). It’s a question of whether or not he is sourcing the puppies he sells in the store from puppy mills. Doing so would be supporting an industry that is unbelievably cruel to animals.

As for how to get a particular breed, people who care about animals and don’t want to support an industry that thrives on inhumane treatment go to reputable breeders. Pet stores are notorious for getting their puppies from puppy mills, and I simply can’t fathom how anyone could be so ill informed to think pet stores are the only possible source for getting a particular breed.

Time's Up

“There ‘s a great deal of cruelty in this world. It seems to me that some of that can be avoided. Oh, I know: they’re “just goldfish”. But, Life is Life…isn’t it? Shouldn’t we have more respect for it? More reverence?
On All Saint’s Day…the Day of the Dead…let’s all be a little kinder to each other…and every animal we see.”

Beautifully put. It deserved repetition.


I agree, adoption is clearly the way to go when getting a new pet.

Does anyone know where these goldfish came from? Are they farm-raised purely to be sold to pet stores or were they rescued from ponds drying up on golf courses due to climate change? Abandoned goldfish need just as much love and care as their well-bred counterparts (Koi)… many goldfish are abandoned after their owners find out that a goldfish isn’t as cute when it’s no longer a fry. What was this guy thinking? …a pet store giving away goldfish to children for Halloween… next year maybe he should go with Swedish Fish.

Are you serious?

Ask the parakeets how well-run the store is. If they don’t bite your finger off first because they’ve become aggressive from not having enough space to sit on a perch and turn around. I don’t even walk past anymore.

No one said Steve runs a puppy mill but it’s quite common for pet shops to obtain puppies from mills. Why support an industry when there are more homeless pets than we can handle as it is? I don’t see him arranging for adoption days at the store (e.g., as Skillman Pets did after people got worked up over the mere possibility of puppies being sold).


i’m speechless at the messages here. most pet stores smell. nice guy, no idea if he’s running a puppy mill, most school & church fairs/area carnivals have goldfish as prizes and they die almost immediately. First the fortune teller, now will this pet store be run out of business because of this website? (I am thinking the DOH complaint went nowhere since he’s still open.)


Steve takes disgusting care of those animals, and the vet on 47th street works with him. They vaccinate and say animals are healthy and they are not. It’s a shame they are both still in business!


To reiterate my point: what on earth is preventing this pet store owner from doing something as basic as giving his place of business a good cleaning? It’s filthy in there. Even if he doesn’t care about the animals or if his own nostrils have been deadened by the smell, it makes good business sense. I’d be happy to support a local independent shop such as his but right now, I can’t.


Disgraceful! The owner also permits some of his cats to roam loose on the sidewalk, putting their lives at risk. Who does he pay off to remain in business all these years?


I applaud the owner’s generosity and community involvement but for the life of me, I wish he would just clean up his store. The smell knocked me over last time I ventured inside.

Also, please put some toys in those parakeet cages. The poor things have zero to keep themselves occupied. The cages are way over crowded too.

Teresa Ward

I am sure that Steve does nice things, but I agree with adoption being the best way to go, although that might not be for everyone. (Looking for an allergy-free pet, for example.) But, as was the experience with Sherry, I found this to be an awfully kept place that smelled horrendous. As to the goldfish, at first look it might look like a generous thing to do, but many of these goldfish will die, probably on the way home. A pet store should value all pets equally.


From a not an unhappy person: I’m just unhappy when I see people buying pets from this pet store instead of adopting pets from our shelters.
It has always looked like a shop that should be closed down by the DOH. Also, I’ve been a Sunnyside resident since 1975 and the one time I went in there to buy a pet carrier, I had to hold my breath, the smell was so bad.

45 year Resident of Sunnyside!

We got our puppy from Steve, and happy its part of our lives. Steve is a local boy and has been running the store since he has been out of high school. Glad to have him as a neighbor!
Maybe some would rather have a nail store.
PS He supports many neighborhood causes,

John K. Wilson

The Bitchy Waiter nails it.
There ‘s a great deal of cruelty in this world. It seems to me that some of that can be avoided.
Oh, I know: they’re “just goldfish”. But, Life is Life…isn’t it? Shouldn’t we have more respect for it? More reverence?
On All Saint’s Day…the Day of the Dead…let’s all be a little kinder to each other…and every animal we see.
Just sayin’. Just hopin’.


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News