Pet Shop Protesters Make Noise, Wave Signs, Vow To Return

posted: August 7th, 2011 04:26 pm | 37Comments

A group of about 140 protesters spent two hours this afternoon in front of the I Heart Puppy Shop in Corona del Mar, a business they claim supports puppy mills because its dogs don’t come solely from animal shelters.

“We do not want to put them out of business,” protester Carole Davis told the crowd. “The day they go humane, we will no longer be protesting — we will be shopping!”

Passing cars honked as the protesters waved signs, chanted “Shame, shame shame!” and sang “How Sick Is That Puppy in the Window.”

The shop at 2801 East Coast Highway remained open during the protest, and the owners photographed some of the speakers and signs and talked to police. They declined to comment for this story but passed out literature saying they did not buy from puppy mills.

Six police officers monitored the scene, keeping a path on the sidewalk clear. There were no arrests or incidents, they said.

A few Corona del Mar residents watched the protest while they sipped drinks from neighboring Starbucks and Nekter.

“I think these people are crazy,” said Kevin, who declined to give his last name. “I agree with all that (about puppy mills) but they’re still crazy. Why don’t they go to the puppy mills?”

Workers from Nekter complained to police that the protesters were hurting their business, and one worker yelled “Whore!” to a protester giving a speech.

Camille Cegeilski, 13, of Corona del Mar, was on hand to support I Heart Puppies.

“We don’t think it’s right,” she said. “They don’t come from puppy mills. They could go be more productive with their time to go to the puppy mills.”

Davis, West Coast director for the Companion Animal Protection Society, has said she is investigating the shop and has conclusive evidence that at least some of the dogs have come from puppy mills. She has asked the shop to convert to a business model that sells dogs only from local rescue shelters.

About half the protesters were from Orange County and Newport Beach, organizers said. Others traveled from Los Angeles and other Southern California cities. They wore t-shirts and carried signs with messages like, “Good dogs die when you breed or buy” and “Pet stores lie to your face.”

Protester Amy Disston of Wildomar spent time talking to Starbucks patrons about puppy mills.

“It’s just educating people, that’s the big thing,” she said. “They really don’t know.”

Some passersby, however, remained skeptical.

“I came here to do Starbucks,” said Erle Halliburten. “We’ve always had something of a quiet, laid-back community. You hate to become the focus of a group to come protest like this today. And from what I’ve seen, none of the dogs (in the shop) look unloved. But I feel strongly to the right of free speech, if it’s done properly.”

Davis said today’s protest was the “official launch of a sustained campaign” against the store. She declined to say when, or how often, protests would take place. One shop converted to a humane business model after three weeks, she said, but another took more than five months.

Protester Elizabeth Johansen of Los Angeles said the shop was an embarrassment to the village.

“I think it downgrades the community,” she said. “It makes them look trashy. They have a chance every minute to go humane. There’s no excuse. We will fight it to the bitter end.”

Read our earlier stories here, here, here and here.


37 Responses to “Pet Shop Protesters Make Noise, Wave Signs, Vow To Return”

Comments

kelly sawyer

August 7th, 2011

A thanks to my home city of Newport and CDM for the very welcoming presence and enormous support of the protest today. Hats off to the NBPD for their corgialness and attentiveness to the group.. My only unpleasant experience of the day, having one of the store girls use a bike to try and push off the side of the walk way and then slammed the front tires down on top of my feet... That's no way to treat a taxpaying citizen on her own public walk way... boo I Heart Puppies, your actions speak loud of your character... not surprised..

Virginia

August 7th, 2011

This story (aside from numerous spelling errors) doesn't really capture the protesters' argument. While many of us who support animal welfare issues don't believe in puppies for sale at all, the puppies at this particular store were traced back to puppy mills (while the store makes FALSE claims that it does not purchase from the puppy mills). And, honestly, I'm pretty disgusted by the behavior of the workers from Nekter. Don't think I'll be buying any juice from a place whose workers yell those kinds of things at animal welfare advocates. And that's really too bad -- vegans/vegetarians love healthy eating and fruit juice bars! (Talk about not knowing your audience!)

Sophie

August 7th, 2011

I saw the people and talked to some. They were very nice actually, apparently the puppy mill that supplies them was under investigation already. Also i told them to go to the puppy mill instead, apparently it's in the Mid_west and they truck the puppies to CA and some don't make it here alive. Sounds pretty bad, I am embarrassed . Not a good thing for our community. I hope the owner do their homework and stop buying puppies.

Sandy

August 7th, 2011

It amazes me that people will picket this small store but could care less that a City like Newport Beach sends its stray animals to a high kill shelter. I went into the store and they have cats/kittens from the OC Humane Society for adoption. These animals were strays and were pulled out before they got sick and died there. People of Newport Beach, please fight for the bigger cause right now! Newport Beach no kill shelter!

Pam, Newport Beach

August 7th, 2011

Bravo to all the protesters that came out today, fantastic. This store lies, all puppy stores lie. I hope we educated some people willing to listen and to the friends of "I Heart Puppies" shame on you for supporting a very cruel business. The only way to shut down puppy mills to to make these stores go humane, cut off the demand and the supply will shut down. They use puppy mills in the midwest and yes California has thousands of mills to, drive out to Lancaster, Kern and Riverside County full of them. The protesters are never going away until they go humane, so CDM get used to it and try to talk some sense into these women and pass the ordinance banning the sale of dogs & cats in stores. Rescue/Adopt SAVE A LIFE, be the solution not the problem.

Jennifer

August 7th, 2011

This article does not capture the rally at all. the support form the community was incredible and I even had the police thanking me for coming out, but thank you Sophie for being there and for being so open minded about the issue. We were just there to educate and bring awareness to the issue. 99% of all dogs in pet stores come from puppy mills or as I refer to them, doggy death chambers. This is the civil rights movement of our time and we'll keep up the fight until every pet store in the nation goes humane.

Deborah Howard

August 7th, 2011

This is in response to people who told us to go to the puppy mills instead. The Companion Animal Protection Society is a national nonprofit that is well-known for its investigation of puppy mills. We have investigated more than 1,000 puppy mills, most of them USDA licensed, in the Midwest, NY and PA. Our investigators have worked undercover at large brokerage facilities, including that of Kathy Bauck, who was one of the largest in the country and was convicted and lost her USDA licensed based on our evidence. We have also worked at the Hunte Corporation, the largest broker in the county. Hunte, which unlike Bauck, does not breed, ships out 1,000 to 2,000 puppies a week to the U.S. and abroad. We have investigated many Hunte breeders to prove that Hunte does in fact buy from puppy mills. Many Petland stores (the largest chain in the country) buy from Hunte. The USDA's Office of Inspector General did an audit and investigation, which resulted in a scathing 69 report condemning USDA/APHIS/Animal Care, the department that inspects USDA licensed breeders and brokers (yes, these are the puppy mills). This investigation was the result of a meeting we had with them in which we strongly suggested that they investigate USDA's extreme indifference to the Animal Welfare Act. They only agreed to meet with us because of our investigative evidence in which we cite AWA violations. We are the only national organization that documents AWA violations in our reports and even on most of our footage. Because we are recognized as the national experts on the pet shop and puppy mill industry, CAPS receives numerous requests for investigative evidence from USDA, the New York Office of Attorney General, animal advocates working on legislation, media, lawyers, and other nonprofit organizations. CAPS’ investigative work has been vital in uncovering and exposing the puppy mill and pet shop industry and has been responsible for generating growing awareness of the issue. The breeder we investigated, Barb Crick in Nebraska, has very serious violations and was cited by the USDA for tying a mother Golden Retriever to a fence and shooting her to death with a .22. The USDA inspector found the dog on the same day and merely cited Crick for not following the veterinary guidelines whereby gunshot is not an acceptable means of euthanasia. She failed to go to the authorities and file charges for animal cruelty. Shooting a dog to death like that is cruelty under Nebraska law. Crick is under investigation by USDA; we also turned over our investigative findings to them. We work closely with USDA and meet with them in Washington, DC. Crick also sells to the Barkworks chain, which CAPS is well-known for protesting. We are the first animal protection group to protest inside a shopping mall in California, a right protected under the California Constitution, which is broader than the federal one (I'm a lawyer and researched the case law). So to those of you who think this is just a group of crazy activists, please understand that they are backed by a national nonprofit that is the only one whose focus is almost entirely on the pet shop and puppy mill industry and has been for 20 years, when our nationwide protests and national media stories brought down the entire Docktor Pet Center chain of more than 300 stores.

jennifer

August 7th, 2011

Didn't mean to sound ungrateful for the news coverage. Apologies if I did and I blame it on sun stroke. :) Thank you for writing about the protests, it really means a lot to me and so many others!

BCC

August 7th, 2011

This was a wonderfully well planned demo to shut down the demand for puppy mill dogs by educating the public. We will be back and we never lose.

Brian

August 7th, 2011

I don't support "puppy mills" and I don't think anyone here does, but if I don't want a rescue dog there's nothing wrong with that. These people seem to be of the opinion that if you don't subscribe to their way of thinking and beliefs that you are wrong, which is typical of our ever increasing "politically correct" society...and look where that's got us. Personally, I prefer to buy my dogs from reputable AKC certified breeders. I have not and never would buy from a pet store, but these people are local businesses and I will support them absent evidence they are breaking the law. They aren't.

Jack

August 7th, 2011

I want to thank CAPS and CDM Today for the coverage on this puppy store. Had it not been for these people putting this shop in the news, my fiancee and I would have been forced to buy a dog from Russo's instead of I Heart Puppies! You see, we were completely unaware that there was another pet store selling puppies in the area and when we went there, we found the most adorable French Bulldog for sale. Thanks to CAPS and CDM today, we spent thousands of dollars at I Heart Puppies! Great job advertising for them.

Mark

August 7th, 2011

@Jack, glad things worked out for you. The dogs euthanized at the O.C. shelter this morning weren't so lucky. But that's not your problem, right?

Harry

August 7th, 2011

Jack, I hope your french bulldog doesn't cost you thousands of dollars in vet bills, actually I do. It's usually around 6 mos that the issues will start to show up. The parents of your dog live in hell and are cut open to take the puppies out, hope you are proud of supporting cruelty.

Carole S

August 7th, 2011

Fabulous turnout! Thanks CAPS, APRL, and everyone who came out today to expose this store and their lies. This is your future "I Heart Puppies" until you go humane and stop supporting puppy mills.

robincdm

August 7th, 2011

First I'd like to offer my gratitude to Corona del Mar Today for continuing to cover this story. You have been here from the beginning and I'm sure you'll be here through to the end result. To any of you that feel this report does not capture "our message" please, you must understand that CdMToday is only here to report the event (s). I feel CdMToday is unbias, fair, unobtrusive, polite, curious, kind and available. It is ridiculous that IHP imagines CdMToday to be a 'bias' source. It only feels bias to them because at almost every turn IHP has refused comment even though they are given every opportunity to do so, nor do they respond or return calls or emails sent to them. I Heart Puppies refuses comment time after time so naturally that gives them the ready-made excuse to say that CdMToday is bias. How obvious that IHP continues to duck every chance given to them to state their side of the story. I can only surmise, along with many others, that IHP has everything to hide because when the truth is finally exposed and more people become educated of the proplem of pet shop suppliers and they have continued to resist changing their business model to a humane one, they will have already alienated those of us that would be the first to support them if they changed now. Sadly, as firmly as they are dug in with no signs of humility or humanity, for them it will probably be too late. CdMToday's job is not to be 'our' voice but rather a document-er of the community and to simply report on local events as they happen. Who - What - Where - When - Why - and How, is the reporters job. Not to take sides, (if that's what you're looking for go watch Fox News) lol. As a Corona del Mar resident I firmly agree with Elizabeth Johansen that I heart Puppies does downgrade our town, it's is an embarrassment and the selling of puppies in this day and age by anyone IS "trashy." Puppy Pimps." All in all today was a great and grand success and with the almost constant noise of the honking cars as they drove by, it won't be long before I Heart Puppies changes their business model or leaves our quaint village to peddle their ill-gotten flesh somewhere else. I guess Nekter's in CdM is off my list of places to spend my money and if I were the owner, that person would be walking out the door with their last check in their hand. Good thing there are plenty of other places to spend money in CdM. Thank You CdM Today for being there for our town.

Mary LaHay

August 7th, 2011

"A group of about 140 protesters spent two hours this afternoon in front of the I Heart Puppy Shop in Corona del Mar, a business they claim supports puppy mills because its dogs don’t come solely from animal shelters." This is the first paragraph from this news story. It is an absurd statement. The claim that I Heart Puppies supports puppy mills is based on the fact that they've obtained puppies from mills. This is a proven fact. This story is really poorly written. CdM Today can surely do better.

robincdm

August 7th, 2011

@Jack, It is obvious you are "completely unaware" of numerous things. Enjoy your new dog.

Virginia

August 7th, 2011

@Jack -- Wish your poor little French bulldog had wound up with someone compassionate (even if misguided/uneducated) than someone who so callously dismisses the conditions at the puppy mills your multi-thousand-dollar puppy came from. (FWIW, I'm pretty sure I like my $100-adoption-fee pit mix as much as you like your $$$$ puppy mill Frenchie.) Don't worry, though, your thousands of dollar contribution to cruelty probably doesn't go too far in paying the commercial property rent in CDM.

elizabeth johansen

August 7th, 2011

when it comes down to she said/she said.. the community needs to use common sense. who is most likely to charm you and lie to you: a compassionate volunteer with investigation & documentation behind them, or a store owner who chooses to need your dog buying thousands to pay their bills? this store knows that people are not stupid and they are using tactics like producing a single kitten up for adoption in their store today. they know that one humane act makes their business appear to be telling the truth. they also know that one kitten for"adoption" will in no way hinder their dog sales. the body pile up of dead shelter animals is 1/2 million YEARLY in CA. So, why are people still buying the puppies of freshly bred dogs????

elizabeth johansen

August 7th, 2011

when it comes down to she said/she said.. the community needs to use common sense. who is most likely to charm you and lie to you: a compassionate volunteer with investigation & documentation behind them, or a store owner who chooses to need your dog buying thousands to pay their bills? this store knows that people are not stupid and they are using tactics like producing a single kitten up for adoption in their store today. they know that one humane act makes their business appear to be telling the truth. they also know that one kitten for"adoption" will in no way hinder their dog sales. the body pile up of dead shelter animals is 1/2 million YEARLY in CA. So, why are people still buying the puppies of freshly bred dogs????

Bella

August 7th, 2011

The dogs need us to speak for them. I can't imagine people "I Heart Puppies" not wanting to look at the issue. It doesn't take that much, we have the internet. I just think they don't want to be wrong. They probably have invested a pile of cash to open this store. The Irvine Company is not allowing dogs & cats to be sold in pet stores and they will lead the way for the surrounding communities. WE'LL BE BACK...

melody m.

August 7th, 2011

Bottom line is these people know what they are doing. They know that they are selling dogs from mills. They also now understand what they have gotten themselves into and it will only get worse. Congrats to all the protesters that came out and reached THOUSANDS of CDM residents by exposing I Heart Puppies for what they really do. Each passing car and person walking by got the message. Their business and reputation is irreversibly damaged and will continue to suffer from here out until they are officially out of business. And they WON'T be missed.

Darren Josephs

August 7th, 2011

My family owns a shop nearby the pet store in Corona del Mar & I have to say I am THRILLED that someone is standing up for dogs that suffer in pet stores & puppy mills. I have fully researched this after talking to the protesters for quite a while. The pet store industry is a HUGE scam with dogs raised in absolute filth and then presented by stores like I Heart Puppies to seem that they came from pedigree breeders. I went on YouTube and typed in 'puppy mills'. Boy, did these YouTube videos open my eyes to the truth behind pet stores! The puppies are cute but their moms and dads live in filthy, freezing cold, outdoor cages churning out puppies their whole lives, never receiving human care or vet treatments. This store is an embarrassment to our neighborhood. There is a reason this store couldn't open in Laguna Beach. They came to CDM b/c we don't have the same restrictions on animal sales & it's simply easy for them to make money off those who aren't educated about puppy mills. What pathetic, uncaring people to open this store when there are hundreds of thousands of dogs euthanized at California shelters.

Richard

August 7th, 2011

Jack: OPTION 1/ If you are bent on spending $2,000.00 for a frech bulldog, why didn't you go to a "reputable breeder"? Your dog came from a puppy mill where its mother's whole life is spent in a cage never seeing daylight, full of fleas and ticks, probrbly has kennel cough, anongst other skin and intestinal problems, is impregated every time she is in heat, and, when she is no longer capable of giving birth, is destroyed. Your dog was removed from it's mothers nursing prematurely, so it probably has mental and social adjustment problems. Not to mention, these PM puppies are shipped in crates, often without water, to their final destination. Many die during shipment. OPTION 2: Go to petfinders.com and look for French bulldogs and choose amongst the many that are for adoption. You could choose one that is temperment tested, spayed or neutered, all shots and micro chip for about $150.00. PLUS YOU HAVE SAVED A LIFE!!!!!!

Jennifer

August 8th, 2011

If "Jack" paid thousands for an inbred dog that most certainly came from a substandard pet factory then who's the fool here? The jury's out and the verdict's been read, "Jack!"

Corona del Mar Today Staff

August 7th, 2011

Reply to

Virginia

August 7, 2011

This story (aside from numerous spelling errors) doesn't really capture the protesters' argument. While many of us who support animal welfare issues don't believe in puppies for sale at all, the puppies at this particular store were traced back to puppy mills (while the store makes FALSE claims that it does not purchase from the puppy mills). And, honestly, I'm pretty disgusted by the behavior of the workers from Nekter. Don't think I'll be buying any juice from a place whose workers yell those kinds of things at animal welfare advocates. And that's really too bad -- vegans/vegetarians love healthy eating and fruit juice bars! (Talk about not knowing your audience!)

Two typos, fixed now thanks to Virginia. I always appreciate my sharp-eyed readers. Thank you thank you!

Corona del Mar Today Staff

August 7th, 2011

Reply to

Jennifer

August 7, 2011

This article does not capture the rally at all. the support form the community was incredible and I even had the police thanking me for coming out, but thank you Sophie for being there and for being so open minded about the issue. We were just there to educate and bring awareness to the issue. 99% of all dogs in pet stores come from puppy mills or as I refer to them, doggy death chambers. This is the civil rights movement of our time and we'll keep up the fight until every pet store in the nation goes humane.

I covered this rally for my readers, who are not necessarily animal rights supporters but are people who live and work in CdM. Sorry it fell short for you!

T

August 8th, 2011

Jack, you are so very obviously making up your little story that it is genuinely embarrassing. Bradford has plants all over these stories -- not just this one. You're going to have to try harder to stir up trouble.

Corona del Mar Today Staff

August 7th, 2011

Reply to

jennifer

August 7, 2011

Didn't mean to sound ungrateful for the news coverage. Apologies if I did and I blame it on sun stroke. :) Thank you for writing about the protests, it really means a lot to me and so many others!

Nope, you didn't, and I always take to heart the feedback I get.

Corona del Mar Today Staff

August 7th, 2011

Reply to

Bella

August 7, 2011

The dogs need us to speak for them. I can't imagine people "I Heart Puppies" not wanting to look at the issue. It doesn't take that much, we have the internet. I just think they don't want to be wrong. They probably have invested a pile of cash to open this store. The Irvine Company is not allowing dogs & cats to be sold in pet stores and they will lead the way for the surrounding communities. WE'LL BE BACK...

Please tell me more about the IRC policies!

Nick

August 8th, 2011

I agree with all the other 100's of comments on this place, but I would also like to criticize their horrible logo. Typography at it's worst. What's the deal with those e's and don't get me started on those p's!

Rob

August 8th, 2011

Jack, I was there all day protesting and nobody adopted any dogs while the protestors were there. You are most likely work for the store or know somebody that works at the store. Why doesn't the store sell rescue dogs and make money while clearing out the shelter. Also why doesn't Newport Beach contract with Laguna Beach which is a non kill shelter rather then the County of Orange that has one of the highest kill rates in the nation!

robincdm

August 8th, 2011

Oh Rob, we all know that "Jack" is FOS. Probably the guy standing at the door yesterday pretending to be some kind of bad*ss body guard while he was accidentally on purpose bumping into rally goer's signs. The tactics of a bully chickensh*t that doesn't have the courage of his convictions. Probably has no clue what that means anyway.

Melissa M

August 9th, 2011

Sandy, how silly and short-sighted of you...of course there's a huge problem with our overcrowded kill shelters in OC and everywhere else. But puppy mills that supply pet stores and online largely compound the problem (they produce more than half a million puppies yearly). The protesters are out there spreading the message to adopt instead of shop, and why puppy mills are bad, which in turn will help ease the problem at shelters. It's not an either/or situation (you sound just like the people that say, "why help animals when you can help children?") Believe it or not, you can do both...help dogs in local shelters by doing hands-on rescue and shelter outreach AND address the broader problem of puppy mills by educating the public at a pet store protest. And something you hopefully learned back in grade school (although you apparently missed your college logic course)...two wrongs don't make a right. You can help dogs in puppy mills that live a life of hell, and also help dogs in shelters.

Molly

August 15th, 2011

The protesters were out again yesterday, August 14th, and I thought it was AMAZING to see people educating the public. There is NEVER a good reason to buy an animal. Most puppy mills are in the mid-west and use agriculture laws to torture and breed these animals because they are considered livestock. Watch Lisa Ling's investigative report that was shown on Oprah and you will know that buying a dog is never the right thing to do.

jack jarrow

August 29th, 2011

Why don't they protest RUSSO's in Fashion Island. I visited both stores and the condition/care of the dogs at RUSSO is far more appalling than the one's at I heart puppy. I'm over it. it's time for the protesters to get a job and come home!

celine

May 5th, 2014

Wow, one hundred and forty is a huge number of protesters! It's good that it was a nonviolent protest though. Is this issue still resolved? Celine | http://www.HBPetClinic.com


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