Bel-Air pet store finds homes for shelter pets in space vacated by former purveyor of puppy-mill puppies
For five years, the manager of a pet store in posh Bel-Air met delivery trucks loaded with hundreds of ailing purebreds from Midwest puppy mills.
"They often got sick in transit," Jamie Katz said. "They would put hundreds of puppies on a semi, and if one got sick, they all got sick. I tried to fix the problems, but it's hard when you are the only one trying."
Two years ago, she found herself with allies -- protesters who showed up in front of the store in a high-end mall. They were working on a campaign of the Best Friends Animal Society to persuade people just like her to sell shelter animals instead, which is exactly what happened, thanks to Katz.
Amid the protests, Katz spent time talking to picketers, reading their literature and doing research; then the owners of the shop, Pets of Bel Air, decided to close. Katz borrowed money, leased the vacated store, hired eight employees (including her mom), bought all new inventory, named her business Woof Worx and took Best Friends up on an offer to help -- with questions, contacts and business advice.
Katz is now the group's poster child for going humane and is endorsed on websites, press releases and ongoing demonstrations at other stores.