Best Friends Blog

Location, location, location! Court rules on behalf of protesters.

Best Friends Animal Society secures freedom of speech for the animals in California.

When I was a kid, my friend Karen Weddington and I set up a lemonade stand outside her house to raise money so we could go to girls’ camp. We lived in a new subdivision at the top of a very long and steep hill. You either had to be a resident of the neighborhood (of which there were few) or on your way to a camping trip in the mountains to pass by Karen’s house — you get the picture. We drank most of the lemonade before the day was finished and raised less than $10.

Lemonade Stand Moves to LA

I had flashbacks to my failed lemonade days when I joined Elizabeth Oreck, Best Friends’ national puppy mill initiative manager, for a Saturday afternoon tableside educational protest in a local Los Angeles mall. There we were, sitting tucked away at a table in an obscure corner of the mall. We were talking to passersby about puppy mills and their connection to the pet stores that sell their puppies for profit.

The trouble was we were so far away from the pet store that sold the puppies, it took a lot of extra explaining to make the connection to what we were doing and why it related to the pet store one floor down and a quarter of a mile away from us.

You see, the folks who owned the mall imposed restrictions that left us with locations in the mall that weren’t much better than the location of that lemonade stand I had as a kid. They also blacked out holidays, so our tableside teams couldn’t reach peak mall traffic.

Weekend after weekend, Jennifer Krause, Los Angeles puppy mill initiatives coordinator, Elizabeth Oreck, and dozens of extremely loyal and dedicated volunteers sat at tables, tucked away in mall corners across LA and Orange County, educating the public about the pet store and puppy mill connection. It was, most of the time, a thankless, difficult job. (You can join their Best Friends L.A. Facebook page )

The Big Daddy Goes Down

Despite theses locations our teams out in LA were still seeing success, including effecting change at the big daddy of daddies, the Beverly Center’s Pet Love.  This particular store had been selling puppy mill pups for nearly 20 years.  You can only imagine how many thousands of unfixed animals they injected into the Los Angeles community over the years.  That store has closed down now, thanks to Best Friends tabling efforts.

In fact, 8 pet stores have now closed down in LA, rather than change to our recommended humane model, due to peaceful protests from a variety of organizations. And a handful more have converted their model to adopting rescued pets.

No Longer in a Corner Near the Big and Tall Shop

In a ruling Wednesday, a 3-0 decision by the California Court of Appeals now allows freedom of speech for protesters inside California malls near pet stores. Best Friends was fortunate to have the pro bono services of attorney Ira Bibbero and law firm Browne Woods George represent us in the Superior Court appeal. Bibbero’s two-year effort, along with assistance from attorney Eric George, made this possible for the pet store animals of California. No longer can shopping malls put us in the cheap-rent district near the big and tall shop.

Precedent Setting:

Wednesday’s decision isn’t just about the Los Angeles area; it applies to malls across California. The ruling sets a freedom of speech precedent across the state, not just for animal welfare, but for any advocate with a cause that is near and dear to them.

Best Friends is indeed grateful to those who are the backbone of our work — the many volunteers who have spent the last several years, weekend upon weekend, helping educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills and the stores that sell puppies from them.  For more information read the article Pet Protests Prevail and a recent commentary.

Tonight, let’s all have a big glass of lemonade to toast to their efforts.

Julie Castle
Director, Community Programs and Services

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  • Maureenhandley

    hi my name is maureen handley.i do not live in states i live in united kingdom…i started looking in to face book rescues some 5 mths ago…i also rescue and rehome cats here…but was not prepared for what i found out .the puppy mills are a disgrace and all for gain .no love no compassion….what standards do these laws have.none…..these authoritys need out and proper caring animal lovers put in…well the other part to this is a disgrace.the animals that are killed in shelters due to being to many strays (breeders)they are mainly gassed because toxins go in to there sad little bodies..they use these bodies are then turned in to animal foods….how terrible…theres a massive business going on here and the power ones .wont stop this its good income.this is to me why they let this continue….i find those rescues who daily go through hell getting animals out angels …but why should they all animals should be given hope…i will always support them…..and i hope and pray this will stop thanks for your time ….

  • Notetoamy

    Congratulations! Your efforts are very motivating 🙂

  • critterSpeak

    Geesh, I would HOPE the law would change. If protestors can picket FUNERALS, Best Friends certainly should be allowed to set up tables near pet stores.

  • Mollysoffers

    I don’t know if it was because of BF or not, but I remember seeing you guys a while back at the Glendale Galleria. I didn’ t know much about you then, but later on learned more. You were set pretty far away from the pet store that was there at the time. That pet store is now thankfully out of business. I agree with BarnDiva, I may buy toys or food from places like that, but even for those items I try to go to smaller local stores that donate portions or their money to local animal rescues. If you had anything to do with that store going out of business, then thank you!

  • Azmokeman

    Congratulations, your perseverance and beliefs won the day, I have one dog from a pet store and never again, cos I now have 3 rescued dogs in addition. I will always go to a rescue or private breeder where I can see the parents and the conditions.

  • Mxipp

    BF volunteers have done wonders in LA already. With this new ruling I’m sure they’ll be unstoppable! Thank you, Ira Bibbero, for providing the legal know-how and sticking with it for two long years!

  • Nellie Angel

    I saved my Maltese from a puppy mill..she was so horrible when I saw her and I just had to save her…Sh was matted up so bad, she would shake uncontrollably and wet on herself, her teeth were caked with tarter so bad it looked like rocks on her teeth, she would not even come to anyone…now after about 3 or 4 months, she has gone to a groomer and is so cute, she has almost all the tarter off her teeth and she doesn’t shake and wet when you come close to her…she still has problems trusting people and will follow people around and bark if you get out of her site, but will not walk up to you, she runs away when you look at her…she is 100% better than she was when I first got her…She is a sweetheart…you can pick her up and she will just cuddle up and loves it but will run when she is put down…I HATE PUPPY MILLS…

  • Barndiva

    I saw you guys in the Westside Pavillion and thought it was great. I didn’t have time to stop and say hello but more power to you. While I hate any business going out of business why don’t they put pound doggies in the window and sell pet supplies? I would have bought pet food there but I won’t set foot in the place while they sell puppy mill dogs.

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful news! You guys do rock! Little by little, we all can make a positive difference for animals. They deserve no less.