BarkworksBarkworks is the largest pet store chain in the Los Angeles area and the target of our most groundbreaking protests. CAPS is currently assisting with a consumer class action lawsuit against Barkworks, which now has six stores in Southern California.
On December 9, 2009, the busiest shopping day of the year, CAPS held a landmark peaceful protest with 72 participants inside Westside Pavilion Mall in Los Angeles against one of Barkworks stores. This pet shop chain undeniably purchased and continues to obtain puppies from mills, including some with serious USDA violations. The protest was a landmark demonstration for the California animal protection movement. Pet shops that sell puppy mill dogs inside shopping malls had been immune to the increasing public outcry for years because of their location. After researching California Supreme Court cases, we realized that the California Constitution, which is more expansive than the federal version, protected our rights to protest inside a mall - a de facto public forum under California case law. Moreover, California case law protects the rights of protesters to call for a boycott of a specific business within a shopping center or mall.
CAPS held a second protest on February 13, 2010 with 89 participants inside the mall in honor of Valentine's Day, a loveless day at Barkworks. The third protest on April 13, 2010 had more than 100 participants, including 70 inner city public high school students. Since then, CAPS held several more protests with high turnout rates. In lieu of signs, CAPS protesters wore tee shirts and carried large shopping bags all with slogans or messages. CAPS worked closely with the LAPD whose officers provided protection of our First Amendment Rights in light of the mall's threats to have security guards arrest the protesters. CAPS' documentary about Barkworks and a disgruntled customer, who purchased a very sick puppy that died one week after purchase, was one of the most shared videos on CNN iReport.
CAPS has also protested Barkworks stores inside The Oaks in Thousand Oaks, and The Shops at Mission Viejo. We will continue to put pressure on the chain to go humane and urge consumers to boycott Barkworks.
If you purchased a sick puppy from Barkworks and would like to join the class action lawsuit, please fill out our online complaint form.