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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.

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