Bel Air, Celebrity Boutique to the Stars, Closing
November 26, 2008 In Defense of Animals – Action Alert
Store Is Feeling Pressure From Animal Rights
Activists, Class Action Lawsuit
Pets of Bel Air,
an “upscale boutique” that has sold companion animals to celebrities like
Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, will be closing its doors before year’s end.
Jamie Katz, the store’s manager, has confirmed this information to an undercover
Bel Air has been subject to weekly protests by animal rights
organizations, including In Defense of Animals (IDA),
due to their connection with breeding factories known as “puppy mills.” A 2007
investigation by The Humane Society of the
revealed that dogs sold in the store were supplied by midwest puppy mills, with
heartbreaking, substandard conditions. The undercover investigation also showed
the pet store’s manager deceiving customers.
and half months, the store’s sale of puppy mill puppies has been under vocal
attack by animal rights activists from IDA
and other organizations. The demonstrators never intended nor expected the store
to go out of business. “Our goal was to get this store to go humane. We would
have been their vocal advocates if they had been willing to stop selling puppies
and work exclusively with rescue organizations to adopt out dogs and cats,” said
Director Karen Snook. “We want them to make their money selling pet supplies
Snook pointed to
successful pet supply stores that have decided to partner with animal rescues to
promote the adoption of homeless animals. “Every major city in the nation has
pet supply stores that do not sell dogs and cats – they help find homes for some
of the millions of homeless dogs and cats in our country,” said Snook.
Pets of Bel
Air’s decision comes as it has experienced legal pressures as well, defending
itself in a class action lawsuit with eight hundred participants.
One of the
regular participants in IDA’s
demonstrations was Carole Raphaelle Davis, author of "The Diary of Jinky, Dog of
a Hollywood Wife" and investigative reporter for American Dog Magazine. Ms.
Davis expressed the widely-held concern that Pets of Bel Air would continue to
sell puppy mill dogs over the internet: "The dogs being sold by this store are
from pet factories, and those factories remain in business. As pet stores that
sell dogs succumb to humane concerns, puppy millers are finding refuge in
Update: Let This Be a Lesson to Shady Pet Stores
Pet store to the stars
slapped with $4.8M judgment
Aug 4, 2009
Excerpt from NBC Los
A $4.8 million
default judgment awarded to former customers of a now-closed Bel Air pet store
should help deter similar businesses from selling sick animals from puppy mills,
a lawyer for the plaintiffs said Tuesday.
A lawsuit against
Pets of Bel Air -- where customers reportedly included such celebrities as Paris
Hilton, Britney Spears, Demi Moore and Denise Richards -- was filed in December
2007 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. It alleged the store sold puppies
that later became sick or died because they were bred in so-called puppy mills.
alleged Pets of Bel Air "sold ... puppies for a premium price and thereby duped
consumers out of millions of dollars." Judge John P. Shook approved the default
judgment last Wednesday after the defendants ignored court orders to turn over
business documents to the plaintiffs and respond to motions in the case.
"We are pleased
that the court has held the defendants accountable for their fraudulent
advertising and unlawful business practices," attorney Peter J. Farnese said.
"We hope this
case has helped to expose the practices of their industry, and that this
judgment will protect other consumers and serve as a deterrent to other pet
stores in California
and elsewhere who obtain puppies from puppy mills," he said.
Shook certified the Pets of Bel Air suit as a class-action case, meaning an
estimated 800 customers who bought puppies at the store between Dec. 28, 2003,
and Oct. 7, 2008,
will be joined as plaintiffs once they are identified and notified.
originally brought by attorney Wayne S. Kreger, stated that Pets of Bel Air got
much of its stock from Midwest
puppy mills, all the while claiming the animals were from private breeders.
About the time
the plaintiffs filed their motion for class certification, Pets of Bel Air
"completely overhauled its Website to remove this claim," according to Farnese's
court papers. The store
typically bought its puppies for about $400 and sold them for $2,000 or more,
according to the plaintiffs.
LA Pet Store Embraces Humane Model
- March 16, 2009
Grand Opening of Woof Worx features animal
shelter rescued pups
By Lisa Dulyea, Best Friends staff
Best Friends Los Angeles Programs (BFLA) hosted an event March 13 to
celebrate the grand opening of the first rescued pets store resulting from A
Eight months ago, Best Friends LA launched A-Puppy-Store-Free LA to stop pet
stores from selling puppies because, sadly, that doggie in the window comes
from a puppy mill. Not only is this a heartbreaking situation for the dogs
being forced to breed in deplorable conditions, but for the new pet parents,
A puppy purchased from a pet store can cost up to $1,500. More often than
not, these sweet new additions have congenital disorders and may die with in
the first two years of life due to inbreeding and unhealthy living
situations. Few families can afford the thousands of dollars on unexpected
vet bills and many puppies are surrendered to shelters, where they are
euthanized or wait in vain for a new home. Most never get that second
Best Friends has been hard at work to find an alternative, and collaborated
with Woof Worx (formerly Pets of Bel Air) on the idea to sell wonderful,
healthy, purebred puppies that come from local shelters. For a mere fraction
of what it would cost at a traditional pet store, people can adopt one (or
more) of these dogs, support a business that’s doing the right thing, and
save a life.
Jamie Katz, owner of Woof Worx, proudly opened the doors last weekend to
over 150 supporters of this new concept. Veggie hors d’oeuvres and wine were
served at the beautiful, high-end pet store in the heart of Bel Air.
Available dogs were there to celebrate their new lives, as well. This is not
a typical store where puppies are kept in cramped confinement on newspaper
or plastic flooring. Think of it as an indoor dog park. The puppies had
toys, individual soft beds, even an indoor pet potty. A comfy couch is in
the puppy room for anyone who wants to get acquainted with their potential
new family member or just be covered with puppy kisses.
“We are so thrilled to be partnering with Jamie Katz, the owner of this
beautiful store, and to support her in her efforts,” says Elizabeth Oreck,
BFLA manager. “We truly believe that traditional pet stores that sell dogs
from puppy mills will soon be a thing of the past, and that a store like
Woof Worx will become a national model for cities all across the country.
“This is not only a great way to showcase rescued animals who need homes,
and to help lower the number of dogs and cats in our drastically overcrowded
shelters, but an opportunity to educate the public about animal welfare
issues. And we are so grateful to Jamie for taking that leap and being
willing to show the rest of the country that a successful pet store can be
modeled on compassion rather than cruelty.”
Katz was an employee of Pets of Bel Air when BFLA began its peaceful
“I always knew in my heart that selling puppies this way was wrong,” she
says. “I’m a huge animal lover and advocate of animal welfare.”
Katz acquired the store when the original owner of Pets of Bel Air lost his
lease, due in part to Best Friends’ protests.
Jennifer Krause, puppy mill campaign coordinator, thanked all the
volunteers, supporters and Jamie. “This is a huge victory, and we couldn’t
have done without them. Jamie just gets it.”
September 19, 2013
West Hollywood bans commercial
displays of exotic animals
Lawsuit Filed Against PetSmart
and PetSmart Groomer For Loss of Puppy