Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happiness Is Pets - Violent Turn of Events

The Happiness Is Pets chain of stores in suburban Chicago continues to be under fire for having sold puppies with distemper. On Sunday, CAPS volunteers staged their usual demonstration in front of the Orland Park location. A series of unexpected events ensued.

The demonstrations are peaceful, with people standing along the parkway in front of the stores holding up signs for passersby to see. The letter of the law is always respected and followed. I wrote about two demonstrations that I personally attended in Happiness Is Pets - NOT; you can see for yourself in the photos and videos.

Sunday's demonstration followed the usual protocols. About a dozen protesters held signs, while one person spoke with a microphone informing anyone entering the store about the source of the store's puppies (puppy mills) and the risk of spending an exorbitant amount of money for a puppy that might well have health issues. (If you don't agree with this, or think that buying a puppy from a pet store is okay - please see It's Time and watch the video.)

During this demonstration, however, a customer approached the speaker, Dianne Arp. Michelle Winslow exchanged heated words with her, Dianne called for police. When the officers arrived, Robert Winslow, husband of Michelle, approached them and refused orders to step away. Police inspected his license, spoke with him, released him. The officers chose to remain on the scene to ensure the peace.

Later, two men drove up to Happiness is Pets, with one going into the store. When Dianne began speaking toward customers entering the store, this man rushed out of the store, charging toward Dianne. On approach, he began yelling at her "You better be able to prove that!", pointing a finger in her face. Kristen Kaminski, who was standing near Dianne, said, "He then lunged at me and was yelling that this was a public place. I screamed at him to get out of my face".

The police, having chosen to stay the duration of the protest, witnessed the event and took control. Upon taking the man's license for ID, it was discovered that this was none other than Jonathan Berning, 31 year old son of Happiness is Pets' owner Ron Berning. If you click on the photo above, you can see a larger version; that is Jonathan Berning sitting in the back of the police vehicle.

Dianne agreed to press charges against Berning. He was arrested and has been charged with "committing the offense of assault, in that he intentionally ran up to Dianne Arp pointed his finger within inches of her face and screamed in a violent manner, thereby placing Dianne Arp in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery". He is due in court on February 15 at 1:30pm, in the Bridgeview courthouse.

Will this deter the CAPS volunteers from demonstrating? A resounding NO. They will continue to work to educate, inform, and do their best to limit the sales of puppy mill dogs by pet stores. The Companion Animal Protection Society, CAPS, is dedicated to the dogs that suffer because of puppy mills, and the people who suffer after purchasing from stores only to be left with vet bills, a sick or unhealthy dog, or worse.


  1. Wow - scary stuff. You guys must be hitting a nerve to get them that rattled. But thank heavens the police had stayed after the previous confrontation.

    People don't like to have their belief systems challenged. It's difficult to change one's views, especially if doing so means admitting you were wrong or uninformed. We just have to keep standing up and speaking truth. The tide is turning...

  2. How unfortunate. Greed and pride will really bring out the worst in people.

    I am astounded by the lack of education in this country surrounding puppy mills and the stores that keep them in business. I mean really, the average Joe Public just doesn't know (I've seen positive reviews of puppy-selling pet stores online and they just make me cringe) unfortunately, groups like CAPS have to put themselves in harm's way. I could go on, but I'm preaching to the choir. :(

    I hope these people are making a difference - maybe the publicity will help.

    P.S. I feel violated every time I see the name of that franchise.

  3. And the battle continues.....
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is a heavy situation and the unwarranted confrontation may well be an uncomfortable admission of guilt trying to be hid by that perpetrator who was "committing the offense of assault" against Diane.
    Indeed, I'm thoroughly confident that you will continue to do your best to eradicate this outrageous situation. The welfare of those precious puppies, depends on it.
    I too am astounded by the lack of education surrounding 'puppy mills' in your country.
    With respect and admiration, your way, Gary

  5. Thank you for all that you do!

  6. Thank you and you're welcome, Krissy - woohoo, that's awesome!


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