Calif. Court Says Shopping Malls Must Allow Anti-Puppy Mills Groups
March 03, 2011
LOS ANGELES—Three California Court of Appeal justices ruled this week that shopping malls in California must allow puppy store protesters, including Best Friends Animal Society, to demonstrate near a puppy store business during all hours that the mall is open to the public. The Court of Appeal, reversing a ruling by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Linda K. Lefkowitz, said protesters from Best Friends Animal Society cannot be denied free speech just because they wanted to educate mall customers on where Barkworks, a Westside Pavilion pet retailer, receives its puppies.
“The court held that Westside Pavilion must permit Best Friends to protest within sight and earshot of Barkworks every day the mall is open,” said Ira Bibbero, an associate in the legal firm of Browne Woods George LLP, which represented Best Friends in the appeal of an earlier court decision.
“It is a victory for every protester targeting any store in any mall throughout California as the same rules apply throughout the state.”
Best Friends staff and volunteers have been handing out puppy mill education materials at Westside Pavilion every weekend for the past two years. They stated, "It’s a just ruling that ensures free speech for citizens who are advocating for the animals, and also enables us to more effectively educate the public about the abused breeding dogs that must spend their entire lives within the grim reality of puppy mills."