Man Tests Petco ‘s ‘All Leashed Animals Welcome’ Policy with His 1,600-Pound Bull

Is it true that all leashed animals are accepted at Petco? A Texas couple and their pet, Oliver, a 1,600-pound Ankole-Watusi steer, posed the topic. So they decided it was time to receive a response.

“We decided to take a chance and call Petco’s bluff on the ‘ALL LEASHED PETS ARE WELCOME’ policy,” one of Oliver’s owners, Vincent Browning, posted on Facebook.

Oliver, also known as “the African Watusi,” shuffled around a Petco parking lot earlier this week with Browning holding the steer’s tether. On Monday, a small youngster marveled at the beast with arresting horns as he walked from the parking lot to the store.

“Did you notice the longhorn, guys?” The youngster described the thing. “He’s bringing him to Petco!” the youngster continued.

Browning continued saying, “Easy, easy!” as Oliver angled his enormous pair of horns — stretching nine and a half feet from tip to tip — to the side to avoid hitting the automated sliding doors. When he passed through the second set of doors, the consumers and personnel welcomed him with smiles, laughing, and a welcome fit for any other customer or animal of the pet store retailer: “Welcome to South Texas Petco.” Browning writes, “They received Oliver the African Watusi with open arms.”

This week, Oliver’s field trip to Petco has gone viral, with the Facebook video of his entry collecting over 1 million views as of early Friday morning. Many people on social media are praising the animal’s beauty in a situation where an Ankole-Watusi, known as the “cattle of kings” because of its beautiful horns, is extremely seldom, if ever, seen.

The steer’s route to Petco was less difficult than planned. Shelly Lumpkin, Browning’s fiancee, encountered an employee she recognized while shopping at Petco on her way back from an event with Oliver, a fully trained cow available for rodeos and events, according to USA Today. According to the Houston Chronicle, the pair are regulars at the Atascocita shop, some 25 miles north of Houston, and had previously discussed bringing Oliver in for a visit.

According to the Chronicle, Browning, a former world champion bull rider, has been raising Oliver since he was 6 months old, traveling with him around the South to rodeos and competitions. But there was one location he had yet to visit: Petco. “I told him we’d love to meet him and that he could come in whenever he wanted, as long as he’s tamed and on a leash,” Chrystal Armour, a store employee, recounted to the Chronicle.

The store was set for the steer when Lumpkin asked the clerk if Oliver might come to say hello. Lumpkin was taken aback by the response.

“I asked her, ‘Are you serious?'” she told the Chronicle. “She spoke with her manager, who replied, ‘Yeah, let him in as long as you clean up the mess.'”


Customers and colleagues marveled at the calm, meandering ox upon entering before approaching Oliver to pet and photograph him.

“It was unbelievable,” Lumpkin told USA Today. “The entire crew there was quite enthused about it.”

The visit to the Houston-area shop piqued the interest of Petco CEO Ron Coughlin, who expressed regret that he was unable to attend. “I’m so pleased [and a bit jealous] of our Atascocita crew for sticking to our word when we say ‘ALL leashed #pets are welcome,'” Coughlin tweeted. “Meeting Oliver, the African Watusi, appears to be an amazing experience!”

Oliver was already a social media celebrity when he showed up at Petco. His Facebook page, which had more than 40,000 followers as of early Friday, follows Oliver’s daily routine, which includes things like hanging out with mascots, getting pedicures, and resting with his pig companion, Dolly.

Users on Facebook remarked on Oliver’s awareness of his girth as he entered the store.

“He tilts his head to get his horns in the entrance,” one person said.

“I can’t believe he fit through the door!” said another.

“He was SO cautious coming in the front door,” someone remarked. “What a wonderful little child.”

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