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Pet Store Owner Comes Under ‘Attack’

Abdel Rios outside of Skillman Pets (Photo: QueensPost)

Nov. 23, 2010 By Christian Murray

Two months ago, Abdel Rios decided he wanted to establish a pet store in Sunnyside, traditionally a peaceful neighborhood that is known for its dog-lovers.

Eight weeks on, Rios, the founder of Skillman Pets, has encountered a different reality. His car has been scratched up; he continues to receive a constant flow of threatening e-mails; as well as many angry voicemail messages.

This hostility toward Rios began shortly after he put a sign in his store window (at 49-16 Skillman Ave.) that he would sell puppies. “I thought people would think…oh, they’re so cute,” Rios said, envisaging he would have about 4 or 5 dogs in his store at any one time.

But he was mistaken. Many people were outraged, arguing that his store would be just another puppy mill.

“Many people have reasonable fears about puppy mills,” Rios said, adding that he sought “to sell dogs with papers — that included the names of the parents and grandparents.”

Rios said that he will not sell puppies “in the foreseeable future”, and will respect the community’s wishes. Therefore, when he opens Dec. 1, he will be offering grooming services, pet products and food supplies.

He said his aim is to have weekly meetings in his store where he can discuss issues that are bothering the community.

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Hi this guy is not nice. I brought my pup in for grooming and while I was there I seen in the back where they were grooming and how the were handling the dogs. Definitely not animal lovers. That includes the owner and the groomers. I go in on occasion for supplies as they are the only ones in the area but if I could get else where I would. Definitely hope concerned locals will prevent the selling of pets here


When I went in there he had a dog that had been abandoned by the owner and he posted signs and found it a forever home–a family in the neighborhood adopted the pooch. His groomer seems friendly and they all treat the dogs in there very well. Best of luck to him.


It is a wonderful pet shop and I will be supporting him plus we needed one close to home as it is convenient .
Hope his business flourishes. If I were to catch someone scratching my car, I definitely would bash their face with a baseball bat and defacing someones property is uncalled for.

marilyn Kearney

Why would Sunnyside residents go after this guy for selling puppies but not the shady place on 46th street that has the sickly dogs in small spaces? In my opinion they are probably the ones messing with him as they have no other competition around here. Just saying…….


Its not right to go after someone’s property, but I can’t see how any animal activists would target this store that hasn’t even opened yet without having cast attention onto the craphole on 46th St. If people are serious about this problem I would think a more appropriate course of action would be to take a legal stance against the already-operating problem store rather than illegally going after the owner who hasn’t even opened yet.

And how people could pay $100 there for a kitten instead of going to the ASPCA on the UES or the Queens rescue program in Rego Park is beyond me.

43rd 43rd

Marie & others-

I agree it’s a great idea for him to offer some of the pets that can be adopted from local shelters. I was living in Jersey before moving into wonderful Sunnyside and there was a shelter/store there I’d visit – they’d have cats whom they rescued from “kill” shelters and a couple of dogs. You could go there and play with the pets and purchase supplies for your pets and make donations. It was a wonderful place to spend a half-hour or so talking with the owners and giving some love to a bunch of pets in need of love and homes.

They also sponsored many programs as well – such as bringing some of their pets to the elderly and to hospitals for weekly visits – which lifted up the spirits of everyone.

If Rios can do this then I’d be at his store every week – play a little with the adoptable pets, and then purchase the food and toys for my own pets.


That revolting cubby hole of a pet store on 46th Street between QB and Greenpoint Avenue is currently running a Holiday Sale on “selected” dogs and cats, with puppies starting at $299 and kittens at $99.

Time's Up

Until the number of dogs euthanized per year due to lack of a home becomes zero, it should be a felony to not spay or neuter your dog.

I’m all for freedom, and can understand someone asserting a right to breed his own dog. But this right is subordinate to the right of dogs to be treated like the gift to humanity that they are, as opposed to expendable objects.


are we guilty in our country before we do anything wrong. this person has invested in our town how aboiut a little respect. Maybe we need better police presence for oiur holiday shoppers and store owners maybe some volunteers to hep. this is not fair. We shouild applaud this mans effort and hope he get plents of business when his doors open up dec 1.


I’m upset by the actions of some members of the community, but I am happy to hear he listened and is not using puppy mill dogs. I’ll certainly be shopping there to support him. Perhaps he should hook up with a dog/cat Rescue Group and have adoptions at his store. Best of both worlds.

Does this happen to the owners of the pet store next to the Sunnyside Arch? It would be hard to argue that they don’t use puppy mills.


People are likely afraid there will be another store like the ones in the area that maintain unsafe and questionable conditions for live animals.

However, that doesn’t give one the right to attack someone’s property or sending threats for something they haven’t even done makes you no better than the person you’re going after.

I hope the neighborhood gives him a chance.


Maybe supporting the local shelter / Rescue groups in Queens and doing ADOPTIONS may be a better choice for this new Pet store …Many animals die everyday in shelters , lets be part of a solution and Make ADOPTION your first choice!

43rd 43rd

Even with “papers” stating grandparents does not guarantee that the dogs are from puppy-mills and are harshly treated.

Bad on the fanatics – if they were responsible for any damage.
Good for this Abdel for listening to public outcry (even if it might have been harsh).

I’ll be shopping there in the future – it’s good to have a shop owner who is conscious of his community.


Obviously threats and property crime are uncalled for, but good for Abdel. I’ll definitely be stopping by once he opens to buy some pet supplies.


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