In a move that will likely spark outrage from pet owners, the pet food giant Burgess is closing its pet food warehouses across the country, The Washington Post reported.
The company has been selling food from its pet-friendly pet food business, PetSmart, since 2014.
In a statement to The Washington Times, Burgess said the decision to close the pet-only stores in 2017 “has been driven by cost, market realities, and market realities changing rapidly.”
The company also said it would close a pet-free pet store in Minnesota, a decision that has also been criticized by animal rights activists.
The closure is the latest in a string of moves by pet food companies to shutter pet food businesses over the past few years.
The majority of pet food stores are located in urban areas and have been in business since the 1970s.
According to the National Pet Food Alliance, the majority of U.S. pet food sales come from pet stores.
About one-third of the nation’s pet food retailing is owned by a pet food company, according to the group.
In 2016, PetFinder reported that a pet store has been closing in the U.K. since October 2016, when the retailer announced it was closing its store in Oxford, England, and it would shut down its pet supply chain, according the Post.
PetSmart and PetFinger closed their pet food supply chains in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
The decision to shuttered pet stores comes after the Food and Drug Administration banned some pet food manufacturers from advertising pet food to consumers.
The FDA is also investigating whether pet food brands should be required to list the ingredients in pet food that could cause allergies.
The companies said they have “made great progress” in meeting FDA guidelines on ingredients and packaging, according To The Post.