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 seven Barkworks stores. This pet shop chain obtains puppies from mills, including some with serious USDA violations. The protest was a landmark demonstration for the California animal protection movement because pet shops that sell puppy mill dogs inside shopping malls, had been immune to the increasing public outcry over the puppy mill issue. 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’ documentary about Barkworks and a customer who purchased a very sick puppy that died on December 24, 2009, one week after purchase, was one of the most shared videos on CNN iReport. 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. The most recent protest at Westside Pavilion (we held a Valentine’s 2011 protest against the Barkworks location in Thousand Oaks) was on December 18, 2010 with 130 participants. 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.
For more info see: Barkworks Photo Page (April, 2011)