Sonia Horon, Global Animal

Thanks to animal activists far and wide, one of BarkWorks’ biggest facilities was recently shut down at the Westside Pavillion in Los Angeles, CA. The dishonorable pet store chain has long been targeted by animal activists for selling sick dogs from puppy mills, which are known for their atrocious conditions. 

Now, as a result of the continued efforts of organizations like Best Friends Animal Society and Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL) in Orange County, BarkWorks in Mission Viejo, CA has also closed its doors. The store is the third BarkWorks to close since 2010.

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Protestors hold signs outside a Southern California shopping mall urging shoppers, “Don’t Buy Into Cruelty. Boycott BarkWorks.” Photo credit:

In November 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against BarkWorks alleging that they were deceiving the public. The suit claimed that the dogs sold at BarkWorks came from puppy mills and not humane breeders.

Puppy mills are notorious for their lack of care or concern for basic animal needs. Dogs are housed in cramped cages, unsocialized, often in need of medical help, and treated like breeding machines. Because puppy mills are focused on turning a profit and not animal welfare, the puppies they end up selling to stores often develop many health conditions.

Last year, Los Angeles passed a new law banning pet stores from buying their dogs from puppy mills. Now, thanks to Best Friends Animal Society, C.R.O.P.S. (Citizens for Rescue-Only Pet Stores), and activist Jennifer Peterson’s PSA entitled “I Will Be Saved,” the Burbank City Council has decided to follow in it’s neighboring city’s footsteps and implement the same ban.

The LA Times reported that stores will now be obligated to sell “animals obtained from shelters, humane societies and registered rescue groups”—wonderful news for shelters who are often overcrowded and have no other option but to euthanize. 

“Substandard breeders with repeated USDA violations have been traced to Burbank pet stores,” Elizabeth Oreck of Best Friends Animal Society said in a statement. “The passage of this ordinance illustrates how well grassroots activism and democracy can work at the local level. The community came together and spoke out, and the council listened. As a result, Burbank is poised to become the 12th city in California to take a firm stand against puppy mills.”

Watch Peterson’s award-winning video, “I Will Be Saved,” below. And just like the children in the video, we urge viewers: “Please adopt from your local rescue or shelter, and make the world a better place.”