Citipups, a popular Manhattan pet store, is suing two animal rights activists who claim the store is operating a puppy mill, for disrupting its business by harassing employees and customers.
In documents filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Citipups said that its store on Eighth Avenue in Chelsea has been targeted by protesters for three years now, due to which its business is struggling. Citipups is seeking a court order to keep protesters 100 feet from any of its stores, in addition to seeking unspecified monetary compensation, according to reports.
Reportedly, the protesters have made attempts to physically block customers from entering the store, and on another occasion hired children to run through their store shouting, “Puppy mill! Puppy mill! Puppy mill!” while knocking down displays.
The court document noted that Kristi Schrittwieser and Michael Feldman “have crossed the line from peaceful protest of one of the stores to trespass and physical nuisance.”
According to reports, Schrittwieser once assaulted an employee and told another: “You should watch your back. People like you get into accidents very often.”
David Jacoby, manager of the Citipups store, said in a document cited by New York Daily News that, on another occasion, Schrittwieser called him at the store and said, “I know you have a baby granddaughter and I know where you live.”
Schrittwieser, a Midtown resident who runs a company called Kristi’s Kanines, told the New York Post that the allegations in the lawsuit are “a lie.”
“I’m going to get a lawyer and fight this. They want us out of the front of the store. That’s all of it.”
In a bid to appease the protesters, the store had welcomed them into its stores to prove that the dogs in the establishment are brought from licensed breeders, Citipups said in a website specifically dedicated to quash rumors that it is operating a puppy mill.
Keerthi Mohan is an IBTimes reporter covering entertainment and human interest stories.