Animal Legal Defense Fund Files Class Action Lawsuit against Barkworks Pet Store Chain for Selling Sick “Puppy Mill” Puppies

Posted on October 29, 2015

Lawsuit Alleges Company Engages in Widespread Consumer Deception

For immediate release:

Patricia Jones, Animal Legal Defense Fund,


Doc, one of the many dogs purchased at Barkworks as a puppy.

SANTA ANA, Calif. — The nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the nation’s leading legal advocacy organization for animals, amended its legal complaint to bring a class action lawsuit, on behalf of broad class of misled puppy purchasers, against Barkworks, a Southern California pet store chain with locations in Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Riverside counties. Barkworks has been orchestrating a long-running scheme to defraud unsuspecting consumers by misrepresenting the health and origins of the puppies it sells.

The amended complaint, filed in Orange County Superior Court, alleges that Barkworks systematically violated California consumer protection law by tricking consumers into buying sick puppy mills dogs. Trusting purchasers relied on Barkworks’ explicit representations that its puppies were “not from puppy mills” and had been examined and treated by veterinarians prior to sale—representations buyers soon learned were false when their new puppies immediately fell seriously ill.

ALDF is expanding its lawsuit, first filed in 2014 on behalf of individual plaintiffs, to add class action allegations after uncovering documents detailing the widespread nature of Barkworks’ deception and hearing story after story of heartbroken purchasers who had to rush their new puppy to the vet just days or even hours after bringing her home. Barkworks’ illegal business practices include misrepresenting puppy mills as “reputable” breeders, providing inaccurate breeder license numbers and addresses, fabricating breeding certificates, and lying about providing veterinary care to the fragile animals.

“The public has a right to know where they are getting their puppies from,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Barkworks has deceived consumers for years about the horrific conditions suffered by the puppies they buy, sell, and profit from. Dog lovers have a right to the truth.”

ALDF’s amended complaint is available for download.

7 thoughts on “Animal Legal Defense Fund Files Class Action Lawsuit against Barkworks Pet Store Chain for Selling Sick “Puppy Mill” Puppies

  1. Barbara Froelich says:

    Just because a breeder has an AKC # or USA license doesn’t guarantee anything. The majority of puppy mills can produce both. If people must buy rather than afopt, they should go directly to a breeder, see the parents and the conditions their puppy is coming from.

  2. Carol Fraser says:

    Shut the mills down soonest

  3. Rita Bledsoe says:

    Thank you

  4. Barbara Leshowitz says:

    Puppy Mills should be against the law – period. Their gratuitous mistreatment of animals is not to be tolerated. And people who purchase dogs from pet stores should know about the origins of the animals they are buying – animals undoubtedly from puppy mills! You are primarily adopting a headache and heartache since so many of these animals are ill and have a poor prognosis. Pet Stores should be stopped from selling dogs and cats because they are so readily available from shelters and breeders. I can understand the sale of exotic animals as well as all the supplies needed in caring for pets. I don’t think it is infringing on a pet store owners ability to make a living by preventing them from selling dogs and cats. And P.S. The treatment by these stores of exotic animals should be closely monitored as well. We are not talking about a coat or a pair of shoes, we’re talking about living, feeling creatures! Come on lawmakers – get with it! And potential buyers, smarten up!

  5. Rhonda says:

    Put an end to puppy mills!

  6. Melanie says:

    There is just NO EXCUSE anymore for shopping rather than adopting pets! Puppy mills should be shut down permanently and “breeders” should be very strictly monitored and strictly controlled! I would be very happy to see all breeding haulted until all homeless animals had homes!
    Here, in Calgary, Top Dog pet store is the same issue here! Every weekend people picket in front of their business and the owner uses terms like “adopt”. It’s disgusting! I am so sick of our lack of laws against animal cruelty! The laws need to change! THANK YOU for fighting this legal battle!

  7. Richard Ordonez says:

    These savages who profit on puppy mills need to be locked in a cage and forgotten about.
    An eye for an eye!

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