Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Pets of 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 investigator.
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
For five 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 IDA Executive Director Karen Snook. “We want them to make their money selling pet supplies not animals.”
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 Internet sales.”
Update: Let This Be a Lesson to Shady Pet Stores
Aug 4, 2009 Excerpt from NBC Los Angeles Pet store to the stars slapped with $4.8M judgment
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.
The complaint alleged Pets of Bel Air "sold ... puppies for a premium price and thereby duped California 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.
Last October, 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.
The lawsuit, 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
September 19, 2013 West Hollywood bans commercial displays of exotic animals
More on our Pet Shops/Rabbits/Legislation page
The pet shop trade: Pet Shops|PETA https://www.peta.org/issues/animal-companion-issues/pet-trade/pet-shops/