HURON — Ryan Black, the owner of Ryan’s Pet Shop in Huron, opened his business at one of the hardest times, on April, 1, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was taking control of the world.
He started his business, located at 260 Kansas Ave. SE, with $350 in his pocket and a love for animals.
“My main goal is to educate the community on these animals and find the perfect animal for what they are needing.”
Black and his wife, Mikki have been operating the store with the help of a volunteer, Heath, who comes in when needed.
Ryan has had a love for animals since he was three, and being from Arizona, it’s been a change in scenery and weather moving to Huron.
Ryan, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has a service dog of his own, understands the reasoning of how therapeutic an animal can be for a person.
“I like to have this place for children and adults to see, learn, educate, socialize and get a bond with the animals. There is so much to learn. I like to give back to the community, I don’t like seeing people buy an animal about which they have no knowledge and research on and return a week later saying their animal died,” he said.
As an added benefit, Black said he prints out brochures to send home with the customer and gives them 24 hours or as long as it takes to feel comfortable.
“When they return I ask them questions about the brochure, just to make sure this is a good fit for the animal, so in case down the road, they decide the animal was unsuitable for them,” said Black.
If there is a wild animal that is injured Black said he will seek to rescue it and nurse it until it’s safe enough to be returned to the wild.
He explained how all the food the animals in his store receive is organic.
“Nothing is processed, he said. “The animals are given fresh fruits, veggies, non-sugar cereal for a crunch. When an animal is sold we give them the option to purchase the food from us, and we show them what we have been feeding them and the animal should continue to eat the same healthy food.”
Black said the pet shop can sell bats, and if a customer calls and has bats in their home, he will go to the home and remove the bats for a donation.
The only disclaimer is that whatever the bat damages or he damages in process is not covered. The donations they receive go to rescues such as Almost Home Canines and All Cats Home.
Ryan’s Pet Shop offers memberships with discounts and store credit. $25 a month / $300 a year in the membership will get you special orders at store cost, anything in store gets a percentage discount on animals and supplies, (food is not discounted). If the customer brings someone in, whatever they purchase in store the customer with the membership will get a percentage off via in-store credit that can range from $10-$100.
A wide variety of animals are featured at the pet shop, including Jackson chameleons, veiled chameleons, water snakes, guinea pigs, tortoises, Halloween moon crabs, iguanas, beta fish, king snakes and many, many more that have to be seen to be believed.
“All the normal stuff you would see inside a regular pet store,” Black said. “Hopefully next year we will be able to get more exotic animals in.”
Anything that’s legally able to be sold, with or without a permit Ryan can sell, such as raccoons, skunks and prairie dogs, to name a few. “We do have supplies, and every month I try to get more supplies in, I even sell CBD dog treats for dogs with arthritis or anxiety,” he added.
“We are working on getting more exotic animals; ones you don’t normally see people walking around town with, like monkeys or lemurs.”
Black explained that if a customer wants to purchase a permitted animal, such as as monkey, lemur, or fox, that a background check is done, to make sure they have no criminal history of abuse or neglect to animals.
“Animals are the best therapy for anyone, no matter what the animal, we have it all here. If you can’t find it here I’ll find it for you,” he said.
Store hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sundays from 11 a.m., to 4 p.m.
He will be holding a grand opening open house, this Saturday, with extended hours until 6 p.m., with $2 hot dogs and the opportunity to socialize and see the interesting animals they have.
Black is licensed USDA approved, and registered through South Dakota’s animal registry, and under the Nation Animal Association. He holds different certifications as he is also a vet tech. “I can only do so much, like reptile checks, and if a snake is shedding weird or a lizard lost a toe, I can give them help and education, but if it’s too much for me the customer will have to take them to a veterinarian.”
“This is more of an exotic, educational type store, we don’t do it for the profit, we try to help the people find the best fit so the animal can flourish with them,” said Black.
If the customer needs something he will try to find it.
“I try to make this a safe place to visit and have customers come back by being family friendly, and educating the kids on the animals.” Ryan’s Pet Shop can offer showings for birthday parties and events, bringing some of their animals out to the community to educate others about the interesting animals, while making it a fun experience.