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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Animal Lovers Want to Protest at Mall

SAN DIEGO (CN) - An animal defense group sued a National City mall for the right to protest outside one of its tenants, which allegedly buys dogs from puppy mills.

The Animal Protection and Rescue League sued Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. and ROIC California, on Wednesday in Superior Court.

The defendants rent space to National City Puppy, which "sells animals obtained from cruel 'puppy mills,'" the nonprofit animal group claims.

National City Puppy is owned by David Salinas, who is not a party to this lawsuit, the Animal Protection League says.

Salinas sued the Animal Protection and Rescue League, the City of San Diego and other animal rights groups in November 2013, challenging a new San Diego city ordinance. Salinas claimed the animal rights groups had been harassing him and committing hate crimes. He named his business, San Diego Puppy, as a co-plaintiff.

The Animal Protection and Rescue League et al. responded with an anti-SLAPP motion and sought dismissal.

U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz on Sept. 11 this year granted six of the Animal Protection League's seven anti-SLAPP motions, and granted Salinas 15 days to file an amended complaint on the seventh. Moskowitz's ruling is attached as an exhibit to the Animal Protection League's lawsuit against ROIC.

In the new lawsuit, the Animal Protection League claims ROIC, as landlord of the Bay Plaza shopping center in National City, has tried to ban it from protesting outside Salinas' store.

It seeks declaratory judgment and an injunction ordering ROIC to let it peacefully protest at the mall.

It is represented by Bryan Pease, who was a defendant in Salinas' lawsuit.

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