Dori Edwards, Global Animal
LOS ANGELES — “It is very rewarding to see the hard work of so many people who love animals pay off,” said Jennifer Peterson in an interview. After two years of her personal campaign and many protests of five or less dedicated persons, Jennifer has managed to lead the closure of one of BarkWorks’ biggest facilities.
In business since 1972, the alleged puppy mill storefront chain has shut its doors in the Westside Pavilion. Peterson attributes two main factors to the recent business closure: the instillation of humane requirements by mall maven Macerich and the recent pet store ban in the Los Angeles County which was led by councilman Paul Koretz. Non-profit organizations CAPS and Best Friends Animal Society have also worked tirelessly alongside Peterson.
“A lot of people are happy right now,” Peterson says. The battle won was no easy feat, “anyone who goes up against BarkWorks are against people who don’t have a problem with lying.” Peterson says that she was “dealing with people who will say anything to sell a puppy.”
Peterson also faced accusations from citizens claiming that she was “attacking small businesses.” For instances as this, Peterson knew it was “very important to have facts and proof.” She collected and archived evidence of BarkWorks’ animal trafficking endeavors as well as their track record of puppy casualties.
After the recent closing, there are now five stores that remain to either go humane or shut down. Peterson foresees that in “the next one to two years they will all close.” She and her followers will continue to protest until BarkWorks stops selling puppy-mill dogs “in a store where they are never exercised (and live) in their own feces and urine.”
Peterson says that Mission Viejo BarkWorks is her next protest victim. “They are brutal,” she said.
Although many of the stores are still holding on to business as in Orange County, she has faith that “the entire country will have an understanding (and) that people will understand puppy mills.”
Thanks to Jennifer Peterson and animal activists alike, the welfare community is making headway towards shutting down the puppy mill industry. As Peterson quoted and anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Keep fighting, friends of animals.