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Protesters Plan to Picket 'I Heart Puppies' Store in Corona del Mar

A rally is scheduled for Sunday.

Following weeks of public scrutiny and with a court hearing looming, I Heart Puppies in Corona del Mar now faces the prospect of picketers in front of its store Sunday.

The boycott/adoption rally is being organized by the Animal Protection & Rescue League. More than 100 people have confirmed they will attend the protest, according to Brenda Calvillo, the event's organizer.

"The goal of the rally is to stop the store from selling dogs from puppy mills, convert to a more humane model, educate the public about issues surrounding puppy mills and to promote adoption from shelters and rescues," Calvillo explained. 

I Heart Puppies garnered attention last month, when the Companion Animal Protection Society, a nonprofit group, launched an investigation into the store July 5 following complaints from residents and assertions the store gets its puppies from Midwest puppy mills.

Store owner Brooke Bradford did not return phone calls or emails seeking comment for this story but has stated that she does not support illegal kennels or those with a history of problems with USDA requirements. 

The CAPS investigation led to the temporary closure of I Heart Puppies while the store complied with safety regulations and considered demands from CAPS—which cited a USDA inspection report that says one puppy came from a Nebraska puppy mill where the breeder shot a golden retriever in the head—to put its animals up for adoption or risk being the target of a protest.

A request for a restraining order was also filed last month by Bradford against Carole Davis, the West Coast director of CAPS, according to court records.

Davis said she had contact with Bradford on only two occasions and said her actions were not done in a harassing manner. Davis would not say if she was going to attend the protest but did say CAPS supports it.

"We are assisting [APRL] in what we do by furnishing the local organization with investigative materials that they need to bolster their case against the store," Davis said. 

Calvillo is asking protesters to bring video cameras, cell phones and cameras to document the day's activities.

"Orange County residents should attend because this store's business practices are unethical," Calvillo said. "Selling dogs from puppy mills adversely affects unsuspecting consumers who aren't aware of the dogs' origins."      

Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime August 03, 2011 at 10:01 PM
Thank you for your comments, just wanted to let you know the protest is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday.
jennifer August 05, 2011 at 07:07 PM
Unbelievable that in 2011 people still don't get it. I'll be there in support and to bring awareness to this crucial and heartbreaking issue. “The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything” ~ Albert Einstein
Kelly Sawyer "Animal Defender" August 06, 2011 at 11:06 PM
I am truly saddened that as a city of humane, award winning preservation of life, and outstanding ethical business reputation, that this is taking place in our city. We ar known as community leaders. This store and owner Brooke Bradford is being fraudulent and negligent at a time where Shelter kills have sky rocketed and are at an all time high, thanks to the massive influx and endless supply of these mostly midwest canine factories. We should be upholding our reputation of "preservation of life" and supporting our neighbor Los Angeles in saving lives and supplying pet stores with shelter animals that will help relieve burdens of the tax payers. As a citizen, educate yourself on this issue, and request an ordinance from city officials that duly represents us as the humane city and citizens that we are. California Governor just passed a bill for this exact reason for sale of animals in public streets and venues for the entire state of California. The purpose, to protect the health and welfare of citizens, and to assist in eliminating the horrific breeding conditions from which these animals suffer. California Governor is on board, Los Angeles in on board, many states across the nation are drafting legislation to end the practice of puppymills in their state, let us not parade this cruelty in the very beautiful shops of our city for all visiting patrons to see and view us as selfish and inhumane.
Norma Sandler August 07, 2011 at 06:13 AM
This is from thehonestkitchen.com, makers of pet food and other supplies: please note, we do not sell to stores that sell puppies and kittens, or are in any way connected with ‘mass breeding’ or puppy mills or other large scale facilities that produce or market animals to be sold via retail stores or web sites. These operations do not meet the Honest Kitchen’s requirements for representing or selling our products.
Loretka August 08, 2011 at 01:58 AM
I am in New Jersey, and Norma emailed me your Patch article. I hope your protest was successful in bringing awareness to the public. Little by little the puppy mills will be put out of business if dedicated people like you continue your untiring work. Bless you, and good luck.

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