Setting the record straight on Barkworks, puppy mills and the work of CAPS

Setting the record straight on Barkworks, puppy mills and the work of CAPS December 19, 2011


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 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.


For example, Howard explained that she investigated the case law about protesting at the Westside Pavillion mall, and found that they didn’t need permission. “We gave our legal research to the LAPD, which it turn gave it to the City Attorney, who agreed with us. That is why they LAPD provided protection every single time we protested,” Howard told me by email. Carole Davis, CAPS West Coast Director, also told me by email that CAPS was responsible for the indepth investigations of the store and the puppy mills in the Midwest, which provided proof of the claims that stores used puppy mills for their puppies. (The video above of the Kathy Bauck investigation is one example.)

CAPS work has also been crucial to pet sale bans in West Hollywood, Glendale, Irvine, and Los Angeles, CA; have held protests at  I Heart Puppies, a new store in Corona del Mar, every Saturday since they opened, as well as at Happiness is Pets, the largest chain in the Chicago area, and Pups & Pets in the San Diego area.

We’re not just talking protests; we’re talking undercover investigations of puppy mills, legal filings and research, and a whole lot more. In fact, you can see a list of the investigations on their website, complete with paperwork and photos or video where available. It’s staggering when you think about the amount of time, effort and money that goes into those kinds of investigations.


As Howard wrote to me, “The work of CAPS is changing the way everyone in this country, from consumers to prosecutors to government agencies to the media, views the cruel and inhumane pet shop/puppy mill industry.  CAPS is at the forefront of effecting change through attacking every facet of this cruel industry, from puppy mills to booking agents to brokers to veterinarians to pet shops and Internet sellers and websites.”

You can learn more about CAPS on their website.


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