Every year, millions of shelter dogs are put to sleep while people support puppy mills by buying dogs at pet stores. This is Ryder; he was a good dog who needed some love and attention - and he was one of those millions of dogs euthanized because he couldn't find a home. The restrictions to adopt him? Must be a loving family willing to give him a forever home. That's not so restrictive, is is?

Back in December I did a story on how animal activists have been working to get malls across the country to sever ties with pet stores in favor of rescue group”stores”, in the hopes of putting a stop to puppy mills and helping more rescue animals find homes.

I was surprised when readers started commenting that they ended up getting a dog at a pet store, knowing they were supporting puppy mills, because they’d been denied by rescue groups to adopt dogs. They cited restrictive rescue polices, invasive questions and other seemingly endless hurdles loving families have to jump to take home a dog that needs a home. And then this week, Slate writer Emily Yaffe addressed the issue in her piece, “No Pet For You.”

Which leads me to this question: how restrictive should a rescue group be? And how justified are those responses that a pet store is the only other option? (more…)


Last week I told you that back in October, Macerich has banned the sale of live animals at 70 of its malls nationwide in response to protests from animal rescue groups. My post was based on a story at GlobalAnimal.org and some press materials from Best Friends Animal Society in regards to a lawsuit they filed.

I heard back immediately from Deborah Howard, President of Companion Animal Protection Society, who wanted to share some information to help clarify and expand the story.

Actually, she sent me a lot of information. To call it an avalanche might be more appropriate. But the gist of her concern is that for all of the attention this story about Macerich has gotten, the years of hard work CAPS has put in regarding the protests of Barkworks and the subsequent changes to Macerich policy haven’t been mentioned.

Normally, I’m not a fan of the “Hey, I didn’t get credit for that!” mentality. Animal rescue is an effort that has a lot of moving parts, and there will always, always, always be people and organizations who remain nameless and faceless when stories break in the media.

But I also think Howard and her team deserve to be heard. And I don’t mean in any way to discount any of the work of the organizations who have been named in media reports. But I wasn’t familiar with the work of CAPs, and once I saw the extent of their behind the scenes efforts, I had to make sure you knew about them as well.


Westside Pavillion mall in Los Angeles, as the heart of the recent change in policy for Macerich malls.

Even though the story broke in October, it’s still making the rounds on Facebook –  just in time for Christmas: retail developer Macerich announced that it will no longer allow pet stores that sell animals in more than 70 malls nationwide. According to a story from October at GlobalAnimal.org, “This new humane policy designed to break the puppy mill business chain is taking effect nationwide within 30 days. Macerich confirmed that they will not renew the leases of existing pet stores that sell animals and in their place, are opening humane stores offering adoptions of rescued pets.”

And Macerich isn’t the only retailer stepping up to the plate. According to Best Friends Animal Society, “Irvine Company, owner of shopping centers throughout central Orange County, California, implemented a policy to not rent to retailers planning to sell dogs and cats in any of its shopping centers a few months ago. The company noted, though, that it would honor its existing contractual commitment with Russo’s Pet Experience until its lease expires in October 2012.”

This wasn’t an overnight success. In October 2008, Best Friends Puppies Aren’t Products Los Angeles (PAPLA) began protesting in front of Barkworks in the Westside Pavillion in Los Angeles. When Macerich restricted the group’s access to protest only in specified areas of the mall, Best Friends sued for the right to protest in other areas of the mall. Best Friends lost that lawsuit, but in 2010 the California Courts of Appeals ruled in favor of Best Friends. (more…)

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