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Humane Malls of America

By Guest Blogger Jennifer Peterson for Pet News and Views

You would think in 2012 it would be a no-brainer for shopping centers across the country to stop leasing space to pet stores that sell puppies. After all, the evidence is in. We now know that most dogs sold in pet stores (and over the internet) come from horrific puppy mills.  I wanted to find a solution; so last month I started a web-based campaign to celebrate properties leasing to companies in the U.S. that have taken the humane pledge, and to call out those who refuse to do so.

Jen with her rescue dog, Frida.

Last year,  I had the privilege of working with the Macerich Company and their Executive Vice President Randy Brant in helping transition all of  their 75 malls to humane models. What that means is they will no longer lease space or renew the lease of any pet store that does not get its dogs solely from local shelters, humane societies, or 501c3 Rescues.  Macerich then took their groundbreaking announcement one step further by saying they also intend to put pet adoption centers in all their malls. Plus, I am happy to report, that as of this writing, one such adoption center in Los Angeles, L.A. Love and Leashes, has saved over 160 lives and is the talk of the town! 

The tireless efforts of animal welfare advocates across the country are finally paying off.  In California, the towns of Glendale, South Lake Tahoe, West Hollywood, Irvine, and Dana Point have already banned pet stores and the Los Angeles City Council recently voted in favor of banning stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits that are not rescues. This is a great sign, and what I believe is the tipping point for other big cities to follow.

When animal sales are halted at pet stores, adoptions increase and euthanasia rates at shelters decrease. These are the facts and exactly what happened when Albuquerque, NM, went humane in 2006.

Why any leasing company wouldn’t want to be part of this incredible movement to save lives and in turn, gain immeasurable respect from their customers is beyond me. I believe in time they will all join the movement and when they do we will celebrate their humane decision.

Jen outside a mall protesting stores that sell puppies from puppy mills.

And on that note, the Westfield Group’s global portfolio is valued at $61 billion, and banning puppy mill stores would hardly affect that profit margin. Let’s hope others return my calls soon and do the right thing!

Editor’s Note: Jennifer Peterson is a filmmaker living in Los Angeles with her rescue dog, Frida. She is currently directing a documentary on the anti-puppy mill movement called “Puppies in the Window,” and is developing a TV series on animal rescue. Her protests against the Southern California pet store chain, Barkworks, have garnered nation-wide attention. Jennifer consults with animal welfare groups across the country trying to shut down inhumane pet stores. She recently shared that a pet store selling puppy mill puppies in Lubbox, TX, was just closed. “We are having great success,” she says. For more information about Humane Malls of America campaign or to contact Jennifer at Facebook, click here. You can also visit her website, by clicking here.

54 comments to Humane Malls of America

  • Cami

    Our two dogs were rescues. I would never shop at a store, which is the same as a puppy mill. Thank you for the wonderful work you are doing.

  • Mary

    Great post Jennifer! Thanks for the work you are doing. We only adopt–never shop!

  • Ronni

    Wonderful Jennifer. Thank you for doing what you are doing. Puppy mills are awful.

  • Fantastic and smart work!!!!! Thank you, Jennifer!!

  • Justin

    Jennifer, it is a no-brainer. Thank you for making a difference.

  • Janet

    My dog is a rescue, and I believe he is grateful to us for rescuing him.

  • Charles

    Adopt, don’t shop. Thanks Jennifer for your good works.

  • Linda

    There is not much on kitten mills because cats don’t do well in cramped quarters. Kitten mills and puppy mills are wrong. I applaud your work.

  • Andrea

    Another great post. Your blog keeps on getting better and better Michele! Great guest post Jennifer. Love what you are doing.

  • Tom

    My two boys (part pit mixes) come from my local shelter. I would NEVER shop at a pet store that sells dogs or cats.

  • Sara

    Great site! My cats are rescues from the streets of NYC! My son wants a puppy, which we will get this summer from our local shelter. We don’t even buy pet food or supplies at stores that sell pets.

  • Tracy

    We have 3 rescued cats–not pet store pets for us.

  • Lucy

    I just started following your blog, and it is great Michele! Great post today too. This is such good information. All of us can talk to management at malls and tell them we won’t shop at stores that sell puppies or kittens.

  • Katherine

    I volunteer at my local shelter and our next pet will come from there. Our dog is 15 years old and we adore him. I hope he is around for a long time. We will never buy a pet from a store.

  • Mason

    All of us an send a message to stores that sell puppies and kitten by refusing to set foot inside these stores. It’s as simple as that. I still don’t get it that in this day and age that some people don’t know about the link between pet stores and puppy mills.

  • Carter

    Thanks!We all need to adopt, not shop for our pets. Every pet we buy means we kill a shelter pet. It makes no sense. I thank you Jennifer.

  • Lori

    Rescues are the only way to go. Shop at your local shelter.

  • Rebecca

    My two girls (a boxer mix and a black lab puppy) are shelter rescues. Never ever set foot in a pet store that sells any kind of animal.

  • Joanne

    We got a Maltese from a local rescue, and my friend got a pure bred Siberian Husky from a rescue too. So you don’t have to go to a breeder and pay a ridiculous amount of money. And you should never go to a pet store. If you want a specific breed you can find one without shopping online or in a store.

  • Daniel

    Rescues make the best pets anyway. So we don’t shop at pet stores that sell pets either.

  • Faith

    And don’t forget about those awful online “pet stores.” Never purchase a pet online. It is a puppy mill or kitten mill for sure.

  • Heidi

    Our dog is also a rescue!

  • Kristen

    It really makes no sense to pay so much more for a pet through a breeder. It is also cruel to buy from a breeder, online shop or pet store. Rescue is the only way to go. You will feel great too.

  • Lia

    Our rescued Pit is the best. Thanks Jessica!

  • Cathy Davis

    Wonderful post. I just adopted a bunny. I know you mostly focus on cats and dogs, but people shouldn’t buy bunnies, ferrets or other pets at pet shops too.

  • Jared

    We also rescued 3 bunnies. They make great pets, and are quite sweet. Pet shops should only sell pet supplies and food–no pets.

  • Sally

    I hope in my lifetime that all pet parents will adopt and never ever shop in a pet store, from a breeder, or online.

  • Lauren

    The best online place to shop for pets is Petfinder. They only focus on rescues–and it’s not just cats and dogs. They have an assortment of everything–birds, lizards, rabbits, and more.

  • sue mcguey

    Super article…..thank you soo much for what you are doing!~ My babies are always, other peoples cast-offs or from rescues!!!NEVER BUY FROM PET STORES!!!!!!:((((((((

  • dianne lynn elko




  • Henriette Matthijssen

    Bless your compassionate heart Jennifer & I Thank you from my heart for being a voice for all lives. Those who use other lives to gain for their own greed, God has a place for such low uncaring individuals. All lives matter as we treasure our own. We are all interconnected & all ONE in this universe. What we do or fail to do for others will return back to us. The law of Karma & Universal law.

  • Thank you for sharing this great story Michele. Jennifer is a true pet hero.

  • Fiona

    GReat post Jennifer! I only adopt.

  • Callie

    My two cats are from my local shelter in NYC. Never buy, always adopt.

  • Gwen

    I adopted a cat and a dog. My cat is a Siamese who talks a lot. If we translated, he would be saying, “Adopt, Don’t Shop.”

  • Jack

    Like everyone says: never buy an animal when you can adopt.

  • Alice

    Thank You. I’m sharing this, and would love to see it go viral! Anything to help shelter pets.

  • Ravi

    My mom got our first pet from a local shelter. I got all my cats from my local shelter, and now my kids do the same.

  • Jacqueline

    My dog is from my local shelter–the best and least expensive place to adopt.

  • Harris

    I have to admit, I got my first dog from a pet store. I had no idea, and I’m well educated. He had a lot of health problems. My new dog came from my local shelter. I will never buy again.

  • Carol Hupp

    thanks Jennifer, good post. I have 7 rescued cats

  • Emma

    Thanks M! Great post and great ideas that actually work.

  • Ruth

    All my animals were all picked up from the streets!

  • Thanks Michele for another great post and a huge thanks to Jennifer for her great post and wonderful work she is doing.

  • Littlestar

    GOOD FOR HER !!!

  • Kim O

    All of my critters are rescues!! The ONLY way to go! Thanks Michele!!

  • WTG Jennifer, and thank you for being an advocate for those with no voice.

  • great job
    gotta love the good stories..

  • Jill

    Thank you Jennifer!

  • 40 years of cats and all were adopted or rescued. Thank you for all your good work, Jennifer!

  • Ginger

    Please keep up the great work. We need a heck of alot more people like you.

  • We love the fact they are putting adoption centers in their malls. Great job!!!

  • the horse and hound

    Great story. Glad to hear about this because it is effective and it works. Jennifer is doing a great job.