Fur protest at store is broken up Demonstrators appeal to would-be buyers Monday, December 10, 2007 There were holiday shoppers rushing in and out of the swank Short Hills mall yesterday bundled in fur coats and vests, and some ac cessorized by wearing boots trimmed with animal pelts. For veterinarian John Hynes and 20 other anti-fur activists preparing to rally at the mall entrance, the abundance of mink, raccoon and fox fur was proof they had come to the right place. "This is a big fur hub," Hynes, 44, said as he glanced at female shoppers decked in fur. "It's high- end. A lot of people wearing fur come here." Hynes had been aiming to take the protest, part of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' international "Bloody Burberry" campaign, inside the mall. The protesters planned to stand outside the Burberry store to decry the retailer's continued use of fur in its designs. If Burberry bans fur, he said, other high-end fashion lines might follow suit. Last year, activists re joiced when Polo Ralph Lauren announced it would discontinue using fur in its collections. But within minutes of arriving yesterday afternoon, the activists -- many of them from PETA, a nonprofit animal-rights group -- found they might not be in the right place after all to deliver their message. It took Hynes six weeks to organize the protest and Millburn police and mall security 20 minutes to disband it. "Security found out quickly. They're all over us," Hynes said as he weaved furtively between shoppers. While the group managed to hand out 30 pamphlets before police ordered members to leave the privately owned mall, it got nowhere near Burberry, where three officers stood guard for the remainder of the afternoon. Burberry store manager Michael Maricic declined to comment on the protest. Forty-year-old protester Anna Welsh of Staten Island decided to slip quietly back to her car. "I'm nervous about being arrested," she said. Meanwhile, Hynes and several other activists lingered for a while longer, hoping to sneak a few more pamphlets into mall restrooms. Hynes, a relative newcomer to the activism scene, said he was in spired to take action after recently watching a series of documentaries exposing animal cruelty. In the past month, he has become a vegetarian and begun networking with other local activists. Hynes admits, however, he is still a "work in progress." Yesterday, he sported black leather shoes and a leather belt, which he said were justifiable because they were essentials and not "strictly luxury" like fur. Some fur-wrapped shoppers yesterday said they would continue wearing the garments for that very reason -- luxury. Charlene Thomas, 34, shopped with friends while wearing her whiskey-colored mink with its fox collar. She estimated her fur inven tory includes nine other coats, 10 handbags, three vests and 30 pairs of shoes with trim. "And I still want more," said Thomas, of Hackensack. "I think every woman should have a fur at some point. That's elegance." For his part, Hynes said he won't be dissuaded and is planning his next protest for March, when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus animals are scheduled to perform at Madison Square Gar den.