LOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — This morning, the national non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed suit in California Superior Court in Los Angeles County against Barkworks, a Southern California pet store chain, claiming the stores repeatedly engage in fraud and false advertising in an effort to conceal from customers that they allegedly source their puppies from abusive “puppy mills” — large-scale commercial dog breeding facilities. Numerous individual plaintiffs from throughout Southern California claim purchasing extremely sick puppies from one of Barkworks’ six retail locations, despite being given warrantees that the animals were “fit for sale” and “not ill.”

What’s more, the lawsuit alleges the stores have a demonstrated pattern of misleading customers about where their puppies come from. According to the suit, on multiple occasions, the name of the breeder and the USDA breeder number disclosed in sales contracts were inaccurate or incorrect — making it impossible for customers to confirm Barkworks’ claims that their puppies come from “reputable breeders.” Further, some plaintiffs claim they were assured explicitly by Barkworks employees that puppies did not come from puppy mills. In fact, today’s class action suit alleges that purchasing puppies from unsanitary and mass-producing facilities is standard business practice at Barkworks.

Consumers have good reason to be concerned about puppy mills, which often house hundreds of puppies and dogs in extremely close conditions lacking adequate food, water, socialization with other puppies, and veterinary care. Dogs from puppy mills are more likely to suffer from infectious diseases and are more prone to develop serious veterinary conditions including hip dysplasia, heart and kidney disease, and respiratory disorders. For almost three years, Best Friends Animal Society staff and volunteers have been holding peaceful demonstrations every weekend at most of the Barkworks locations in order to inform shoppers that puppies in the stores are coming from puppy mills, primarily high volume facilities in the Midwest, many of which have multiple USDA violations.

“Barkworks has misrepresented the breeding history and health of its puppies in order to convince customers to purchase them, resulting in large profits for their business—and heartbreak for countless dogs and their adoptive families,” says ALDF Director of Litigation Carter Dillard. “It is time for the court to intervene to stop Barkworks’ blatant and illegal deceptive practices, and to provide restitution to the consumers whom they have victimized.”

ALDF is being represented in this matter by lawyers at Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

Copies of the lawsuit are available upon request. ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund: 707-795-2533.


  1. So, we are not to worry about the shelter rescues for which we have to pay excessive vet bills as these dogs come with a host of illnesses and behavior problems! Its alright for rescue groups to make money bringing in feral dogs from rabies plagued Puerto Rico, Thailand and other countries shilling the public into donating excessive amounts of money for these wild dogs! Really the hypocrisy of the animal rights militants. I am so tired of telling a families that the new pet they just adopted is rife with problems that will cost more than a college education. The reason some dogs are in shelters in the first place is due to behavior problems and excessive health problems and they should be euthanized. Is it right to con the pubic just to get a dog adopted? NO, its time to say no, Its time to say what’s wrong with this dog before you bring it into your home. Too many diseases are being transferred to children from shelter dogs. Why is it alright for the shelters and rescue groups to sell these dogs to the public, but you want to put out of business companies that can be held accountable to the public. You have no recourse when you adopt, no back up when you adopt and no monetary support when you adopt.

  2. “Dogs from puppy mills are more likely to suffer from infectious diseases and are more prone to develop serious veterinary conditions including hip dysplasia, heart and kidney disease, and respiratory disorders” says the author.

    Could we please have some statistics that prove this point? Or is this the spouting of an abstract painter and movie stand in? Both worthy professions but hardly an expert in veterinary problems. When incorrect information like this a written as fact.. some people will actually believe it even when it is NOT true. and of course it is not true and cannot be proven by a few disgruntled purchasers who are probably being paid by ALDF to file this suit… sort of like ambulance chasing attorneys..ALDF is a group that will sue at the drop of a hat.. let’s hope the judge is smart and throws this one out of court..

    a bit more research into the ALDF will show that they are an ANIMAL RIGHTS groups, not an animal welfare group.

  3. Alice…I take offense. Barkworks sold me a sick puppy that died. $3,000 in medical bills and FALSE information on the breeder, etc. Yesterday I met a neighbor who also bought a dog that has lots of medical problems and she is taking Barkworks to small claims.

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