I've seen this as well in a few different scenarios and thought it was great to not have to go through the return process hassle. Felt the company (Chewy) was doing a good thing by suggesting donating the items, which I gladly did. Also on 2 occasions with broken items I had to send pics of the broken items for replacement under warranty which again, way better than the hassle of returning. I never did quite understand a company paying to have a broken useless item shipped back to them for their disposal.
There are much better cost effective solutions out there to weed out the abusers rather than returning said item(s). A person truly being honest regarding a return should not have any misgivings what so ever to send a picture of damaged item rather than going through the return process. If someone has an issue they most likely are not being truthful and a policy for an alternative in place e.g. choice A, B, or C. If an item doesn't show damage from a pic, then make obvious damage. I've had to do this once with a set of earbuds and cut them in half. I think it ends up being a win-win deal for the applicable businesses and their customers.
I don't have any insight for clothing and shoe retailers who are bombarded with unavoidable returns on a regular basis.