Residents Want Ban on 'I Heart Puppies' in Corona del Mar

Residents took to the podium at Tuesday's City Council meeting to ask for a ban on pet stores.

A group of animal activists and residents gathered at City Hall on Tuesday to urge the Newport Beach City Council to ban the retail sale of dogs and pets.

The requests follow months of controversy sparked by the "I Heart Puppies" Store in Corona del Mar. In July, the store came into the public spotlight when the Companion Animal Protection Society, a nonprofit group, launched an investigation into the store after complaints from residents and assertions that the store gets its puppies from Midwest puppy mills.

Since then, I Heart Puppies has been the subject of court hearings and several by the Animal Protection & Rescue League and other animal organizations.

Store owner Brooke Bradford has stated she does not support puppy mills or those with a history of problems with USDA requirements. She told the City Council she is looking forward to working with them, should they require any documents for an investigation.

"We have been to our breeders, we know them personally, we pick the dogs out and they are driven or flown back to our store," Bradford said. "They arrive at our store alive and well."

Dave Simon, an attorney for CAPS, was one of a handful of people who encouraged the council to pass an ordinance similar to the one the Irvine City Council recently approved, which bans the sale of dogs and pets in retail stores.

"We'd love to see Newport Beach take a similar and historic and responsible stand," Simon said.

Resident Alicia Culberstone echoed Simon's request.

"There is a growing wave of people choosing to adopt rather than shop," she said. "People would rather support humane conscientious businesses rather than those that greedily profit from cruelty."

RJ October 26, 2011 at 09:50 PM
it makes no sense to me that there is still so much breeding going on when puppies are on death row in the shelters. to me it seems selfish that someone would on purpose create more dogs when so many already need homes.
Lorie Armbruster October 26, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Brooke Bradford doesn't get it. The point isn't that the puppies are arriving alive! The puppies should not be shipped here from Midwest puppy mills and breeders at all when there are thousands of puppies right here getting euthanized at overcrowded shelters every day. And as for the moms of these puppies, they don't get shipped anywhere--they languish in wire cages for their entire lives until they can't breed any longer. And whether the cages are spotless or filthy with feces (the latter being the case in all or most instances), the point is that is no way for an animal to live its life. I Heart Puppies needs to change to a humane model and work with rescues to help find homes for shelter puppies right here in Southern California ...or shut down.
Kelly Sawyer "Animal Defender" October 26, 2011 at 10:20 PM
Is it just me , or did Suzanne Bradford, meet personally, promote,, and support Barb Crick in the media, ... You know... the one who tied the golden retreiver mother of puppies to a pole and shot it in the head and left the carcass dangling for the USDA inspector to find.... the Breeder with video footage from CAPS that show matted, acutely distressed, breeding dogs in FECES encrusted cages....Suzanne Bradfords Personal relationships with her Breeders seem to be clouding her standards of animal cruelty. To support a breeder like this is UNBELIEVABLE. To know them personally, and supply Newport residents wtih PUPPY MILL DOGS knowingly and support them in the media, is unquestionably a store pimping cruelty for high profit AND DEFINTELY A PUPPY MILL FRONT. Who do you think you are kidding Suzanne.
Kelly Sawyer "Animal Defender" October 26, 2011 at 10:36 PM
As a resident who spoke at last nights meeting...JUST TO MAKE CLEAR....we did not ask for a Ban on Pet Stores. We asked them to convert to a highly successufl HUMANE Business model, which many pet stores have had great success with across the nation;. It is an embarassment to the city of Newport and its Residents to be promoting and industry unregulated by the USDA's own admissions, and to continuously be subjected to consumer fraud by unethical puppy mill puppy store owners. The Resident deserve the respect of HUMANE PET STORES and that is what was requested.
Elizabeth Gingerlocks October 27, 2011 at 12:14 AM
there was a time in U.S. history where we used to buy & sell people from other people. we would buy them, frequently cage or chain them, make them labor for us, force them to produce goods for us, frequently brutalize them, & give them just enough of what they needed to survive to the point where they could continue to do our work. We are clearly living in the same historical place with concern to companion animals. The opposition may say: they are animals & do not have the same rights to themselves as we do or they do not feel the same injustice that we would in their place. I ask then what is it about nonhumans that we as humans find so irrelevant?
Maria October 27, 2011 at 12:29 AM
How encouraging that Newport Beach is interested in becoming a pro-humane city! This ordinance is long overdue. To continue to sell sentient beings without care and concern for their lifelong well being--as if they are commodities not living creatures--is irresponsible and inappropriate for a city of Newport Beach's caliber.
Melissa M. October 27, 2011 at 12:59 AM
A very well-written article. I have just one simple response to Ms. Bradford's assertion that her dogs don't come from puppy mills: large-scale commercial breeders by their very nature, are indeed, puppy mills...the only breeders that can cost-effectively supply I Heart Puppies and the overwhelming majority of pet stores. They are neither a natural, nor humane environment for companion animals, therefore the very nature of Ms. Bradford's business is based on systematic animal cruelty and consumer fraud. She is obviously banking on the fact that a sizeable enough percentage of the public will continue to buy into the lies and/or remain in denial about puppy mills...at least so she can make a sizeable chunk of money and then run. But pet stores that sell puppy mill dogs are going humane or shutting down by leaps and bounds and bans are passing throughout the U.S. and Canada. She could make the smart and decent choice and bow out now...or continue to be a purveyor of cruelty and fraud because of her foolish pride and desire to make a quick and easy buck. Sadly, it looks like she's opting for the latter.
Paige Chandler October 27, 2011 at 02:36 AM
Let's Go! It's 2011, and almost 2012. This issue should be in the past. We have thousands and thousands of animals crying for homes on our shelters. Why are people still allowed to exploit animals in the puppy mills? Why do we still let them get away with it. Let's Go!!!!!!
Claire Vinet October 27, 2011 at 03:32 AM
Irvine did it. Glendale did it. West Hollywood did it. Newport Beach can do it, too! Just say NO to puppy traffickers!
Lori K. October 27, 2011 at 03:57 AM
Beautiful and loving dogs and puppies are killed every day in shelters across the USA, because there are more dogs than available homes. Breeders exacerbate this problem, by producing even more puppies. These breeder puppies go to homes that might otherwise have adopted a shelter dog, and puppies that aren't sold, end up on death row with all the other unadopted dogs. How does Brooke Bradford not understand this? Obviously, she does. She simply chooses to ignore it, and supports the production and death of countless wonderful dogs out of sheer greed. And she has the gall to call herself a dog lover!
Alicia October 27, 2011 at 05:08 AM
It's encouraging to see so much support from the general public, and specifically Newport Beach's own residents, for an ordinance banning the commercial sale of companion animals. The Newport Beach City Council is in a position to take the same admirable stand that more and more cities across the nation are taking. I'm eager to see this issue move forward and gain momentum. It's time to evolve, and embrace the growing culture of compassion. Pet stores like I Heart Puppies and Russo's don't have to miss the boat: They have a great opportunity to convert to a humane business model, thereby doing good for animals, gaining public respect, and still running a profitable business.
KT October 27, 2011 at 06:59 AM
I live in NB and am in total support of a ban on retail sale of cats/dogs. I Heart Puppies owner has had the opportunity to go humane and stop shipping in puppies to her store...but the residents' pleas continue to fall on deaf ears and apparently... a cold heart. Many pet shops HAVE changed their business model....so I guess there is always hope Suzanne will change her store practices and start running an ethical business. Suzanne...if you are reading this....you can change now. Don't wait for an ordinance to tell you to. Don't pick up the phone to order one more puppy. Just stop. NB will thank you, residents will come out in SUPPORT of your store, and most importantly you will no longer be part of the cycle of puppy mill cruelty.
Laurie October 27, 2011 at 11:14 PM
How can you own a pet store and claim to love puppies on one hand while supporting the absolutely vile treatment of dogs in puppy mills on the other? Especially since there are so many wonderful shelter dogs out there who need loving homes.
Mark L. October 28, 2011 at 01:00 AM
I applaud the residents of Newport Beach for working to end the horrible suffering the retail sale of companion animal perpetuates. When people become wise to the “reputable breeder” lie that store owners parrot, they invariably choose humane alternatives. In doing so they save money, taxpayer dollars, and most importantly, animals’ lives. I hope Newport Beach successfully joins Irvine, Glendale, and the growing list of communities across our country that have decided they will longer condone the systemic abuse of dogs.
Sonia A. October 28, 2011 at 04:01 AM
Anyone who buys a dog from a pet store is supporting these scum breeders! They could care less about the welfare of these dogs. It's all about the almighty dollars. Wake up everyone and realize that there are thousands and thousands of beautiful animals just waiting to be adopted and taken to loving homes at shelters across the U.S. They shouldn't be put to death because of humans careles attitude towards breeding and neglect.
kim October 28, 2011 at 09:32 AM
No reputable breeder (there are a few out there) would ever sell to a pet store. They want to know where their dogs are going, vet the new owners, write a contract, take them back if there is a problem, make sure they are spayed or neutered, and much more. These pet store owners don't care about their animals, just how much money they can make. I'm hoping that Newport Beach will follow suit with Irvine, Glendale, and W. Hollywood and stop the selling of puppies and kittens in pet stores. The abuse these animals go through is heart wrenching.
Kelly Sawyer "Animal Defender" November 02, 2011 at 01:40 AM
Providing puppies in the pet stores of Newport, and parading cruelty and torture in the front windows of our beautiful shops, is a very sad representation of who we are as a city and citizens, for the millions of visitors that patronize our city every year for the simple fact we have an outstanding quality of life to offer. We are ethical leaders of communities, and provide priceless natural beauty supported by the many dollars we invest in preserving nature and life. California euthanizes 500,000 homeless animals per year in our shelters simply because they have no home. Newport Beach as a city is parading cruelty in the windows of our lucrative high end shopping areas with disregard of the animal overpopulations of our neighboring cities it is contributing to by raising their tax dollars for the pet store puppy homeless which our Humane Society states on it's website is one of the major causes of shelter overpopulation.. If I Heart Puppies goes out of business, we have all lost. The cities reputation becomes one of inhumaneness and we have lost a venue that could have been used as a resource of saving lives and finding homes for our own. I take tremendous pride in the integrity of our city and all the hard work that goes into maintaining its ethicalness, including the very loyal constituents that do the same. I am very much looking forward to the day we will also be noted and recognized as a leader for our humaneness. Our city deserves it.
Conrad Hellman November 02, 2011 at 07:30 AM
The business model of the traditional pet store is some of the easiest money around, all of it made off the backs of cruelly abused, neglected mother & father dogs who never leave their cage their entire lives. They are bred till they die, never once receiving human affection or even a visit to the vet. The puppy mills sell them to pet store owners like Suzanne Bradford for a hundred dollars, maybe two hundred, then the Bradfords sell them for upwards of $1,000. Bradfords, please don't continue to insult others' intelligence with your absurd claims that you have visited your breeders. You haven't. And even if you had, that's like saying it's okay to buy a shirt made by exploited children in a Thailand sweat shop just because the department store where I get it says it's okay. Ridiculous. People need to take responsibilty for what they buy & who it hurts.
michaela pond November 02, 2011 at 06:20 PM
It's about time the city of Newport Beach join the growing numbers of cities across our state who have banned pet stores that sell puppies obtained from puppy mills. It is the humane thing to do!
doggysweatet November 02, 2011 at 07:03 PM
If you really have to have a pure breed puppy and you can't get one from a breed rescue, shelter or petfinder.com and you just have to....Go to a reputable breeder directly. Meet the owner, the mommy dog, hopefully the daddy dog. And most of all if you see them running around the yard and living inside the house....go for it! Because breeders like that don't sell to pet shops, and they usually will take the dog back if there is trouble. Banning pet shop sales has nothing to do with banning your dog choices. Anyone who truly loves animals would not support a cruel greedy industry. Buying anything from a pet shop support animal cruelty. And a municipalitu that doesn't ban it is ...well supporting it.
Lorie Armbruster November 02, 2011 at 07:14 PM
@doggysweatet ... totally agree with this excellent point. Even the HSUS states that responsible breeders do not sell their pups to pet stores, they want to meet their puppy buyers in person, they don't sell to the first person who shows up with cash in hand and will take their puppies back. The Code of Ethics for most breed clubs state that their breeders refuse to sell their dogs to pet dealers or any other commercial sources of distribution. When someone chooses to purchase as opposed to adopt from a shelter or rescue, they must be patient and do their research, putting aside instant gratification. Puppy Stores = Puppy Mills = Cruelty & Greed
gene monnier December 17, 2011 at 12:25 AM
I visited 'I Heart Puppies' in Corona Del Mar CA recently. The store is amazing and a great place to purchase a puppy. Some have protested, ad nauseam, to the sale of puppies from this store because they come from breeders that raise puppies for sale so they can make a living. Pet stores are being forced out due to pressure from these protestors. Are you kidding me? Really? The breeders that I know about house their breeding dogs and new born puppies in climate controlled kennels, provide veterinary services and the best pet food in the industry. We have real issues at stake in this country...homelessness and the elderly that have been forgotten, mental illness, children not eating properly on a regular basis, poor healthcare for millions because they can't afford it, illegal immigration, violence against each other at record levels and abortion. To the puppy provider protestors I offer...If you want to right some sort of alleged injustice and bring real meaning to your lives, volunteer at a homeless shelter or spend time at a nursing home with those that have been forgotten, petition your legislators to secure the border and protest the killing of our precious babies in the 'safety' of their mothers womb. Attacking a wonderful pet store like I Heart Puppies is dishonorable and shows the ignorance of those that have attached their unwarranted anger to such foolishness.
Kelly Sawyer December 17, 2011 at 12:47 AM
The typical response from anyone avoiding the facts about I Heart Puppies. You have been in the store and so you are now an expert on the facts presented on record regarding this store?. These dogs ALL come from cruel puppy mills in the Midwest where their parents suffer a lifetime of neglect, suffering and are bred to death. I suggest you research USDA puppy factory farming. Not only is your opinion dishonorable to living beings, you are ignorant making the statement that the people who protest this store, and do it based on legal evidence, do not also spend much of their time and effort on the causes you stated. You are beyond foolish, you have no respect for living beings as long as you like the people selling their cruelty with crystal hanging from the ceiling. It is a constant waste of time to address such people who have blatant disregard for life , support, and minimalize cruelty and torture of Man's Best Friend.
Lorie Armbruster December 17, 2011 at 12:52 AM
When someone speaks out against injustice for animals, it doesn't mean they don't also speak out against other social injustices. The two are not mutually exclusive. The majority of breeders that pet stores deal with are not "climate controlled" kennels. I had the unfortunate experience of stumbling across a puppy mill while going to college in Missouri. It was heartbreaking. And when I was at LAX shipping a rescued dog to a sanctuary via an airline, one of the freight workers there told me how sad it made him when they had to unload crates of puppies flown in from the Midwest for California pet stores. Not all puppies make it alive and well. Remove your rose-colored glasses and see pet stores for what they really are.
Lorie Armbruster December 17, 2011 at 01:11 AM
I do have one correction to my last post. I stated that "the majority of breeders that pet stores deal with are not "climate controlled" kennels." It's more accurate to say that NONE of the breeders that sell to pet stores provide comfortable conditions like that for their dogs. An acquaintance of mine breeds French Bulldogs. I know for a fact that they are kept inside her lovely home and she only breeds two dogs at a time, gets them the best vet care, screens/home checks all potential buyers and requires that they be brought back to her if for any reason it doesn't work out. She also has a number of other conditions in her sales contract to ensure the health and welfare of her dogs. That is how she earns her living. (I should also add that she also does French Bulldog rescue.) I asked her if she would ever sell one of her puppies to a pet store and her response was an instant "NEVER"! Responsible, caring breeders do not deal with pet stores. Period.
Kelly kohl February 25, 2012 at 09:47 PM
SERIOUSLY PEOPLE! I Heart Puppies was a GREAT place to spend ones time, award a good child deed and Brooke and her partners are the MOST caring, loving people we have met in CDM. WE LOVE I HEART PUPPIES AND they will be TRULY Missed! Loving OWNER of Gracie a AKC BEAUTIFUL Pug PURCHASED at I heart Puppies. She was WELCOMED to our home with our TWO Adopted dogs Coco and Yankee. Protestors ARE NOT Welcomed in CDM...


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