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Owners of big dogs growl over pet policy at Glendale mall

Americana_2Patricia Tomlin was looking forward to walking her family's Great Dane through the streets and park at Americana at Brand, the new outdoor mall in the heart of Glendale. But her pleasant evening stroll turned tense when she was approached by a security guard. Tomlin and her big dog had to go.

"He informed us that if you cannot carry the dog you cannot bring the dog in," Tomlin said in a letter to the Glendale News Press. "I feel by telling me my dog is not allowed that this is size discrimination. You either let all dogs in or no dogs at all."

This would not have been a problem in most public spaces, which usually don't place a limit on the size of your pet. But it's a bit trickier at Rick Caruso's Americana at Brand, where narrow lanes may resemble public streets but are really private property. Making it more complicated: The two-acre park in the heart of the mall actually is public property.

The potential confusion caused by the blurring of private and public property and the rights of its users was noted by The Times' architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne in his story on the $400-million project and its public green.

"That makes the distinction between public and private in the final product almost impossible to untangle. At the Americana, the park is public space masquerading as private space that is masquerading as public. Got that?"

The big-dog ban, which applies to pets over 25 pounds, is for safety reasons and also applies to outdoor spaces at Caruso's other popular outdoor mall, the Grove, in the Fairfax District. Bikes and skateboards are also prohibited.

The rules might seem clear-cut to the mall owners. But, as Tomlin notes, she saw no signs at Americana that warn visitors about the big-dog ban. In fact, on a previous visit to the mall with her dog, Tomlin said she ran into a group of Glendale police officers on the property. Unlike the private mall guard, the officers never told her that her pet was too big.

Can it get any more confusing? Did you have to ask? Both Tomlin and the Franklin Avenue blog note that  some ads and brochures for Americana feature a woman walking a large dog.

-- Jesus Sanchez

Photo: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (21)

I hate dog owners. They think the rest of us want to see their drooling, mush-brained beasts. We don't think they're cute. You want one? Go live in Kansas.

Most pets should be banned. You can't control when they go potty and when they bark. They are not like children. They are animals. If you insist on chaining up or caging an animal to make you feel loved, at least keep it at home.

I must admit it would be nice to go somewhere without the annoying clak-clak of skateboards, and the inconsiderate zooming around pedestrians that cyclists and skateboarders do. And, while I love dogs in general, there are some breeds that present a risk (either through unexpected viciousness, or by running rampant and knocking into people).

Having said all that, I wish these things would be the case simply by people being considerate, rather than being enforced by security officers in a fake environment from The Truman Show.

I just read Sara's comment below, with the phrase "go potty". Dogs don't "go potty". They defecate. The deposit their warm odorous feces on lawns where people sit. Flies feast on the feces by regurgitating the acid contents of their stomachs onto the feces, then lap it back up. Gross? True! Then the flies come from the dog feces and do the same on your food that you are happily eating outdoors. Truly gross.

Dogs don't belong at a mall! I completely agree with the policy.

Jake: That is truly gross!!! Why haven't we banned the flies yet??? Much more dangerous than dogs!!

Aw Melanie, just keep lighting that bong and chomping on those cocoa puffs you write about and maybe you'll become less of a hater.

We were kinda hoping you'd be the one to go to Kansas.

xxoo, me and my doggies

Dogs in a mall? Only in this confused decaying state can this even be an issue. Of course they don't belong in a mall!!!

While I never took my dogs to public places, (for their own well-being) the world is becoming more accepting of animals everywhere. The 25 lb. policy is a good compromise.

"Hate" is a strong word, Melanie - this is not that big of an issue.

The specifics of dogs and skateboards aside---and one can argue both sides reasonably---there is a bigger issue here that Christopher Hawthorne raises. And, some enterprising lawyer may want to raise it with the City of Glendale, as well:

The mall is private space and Caruso can make whatever restrictions he wants as long as they comply with state and federal law. But the park is public space, and therefore many of the restrictions applicable on the rest of Americana would not apply.

Let's pick a more profound example than dogs---free speech. If a person brought a soap box, bullhorn and handful of flyers into the Americana and espoused a controversial position (overthrow the government? pro or anti-abortion? Obama vs McCain? etc), what would happen?

Theoretically, if they set up the soap box anyplace in there BESIDES the park space, the private security guards could ask them to leave. But, theoretically, if they set it up on the park space, the law would allow them to speak. Or the security guards could tell someone that they would have to move from the private sidewalks and streets onto the park. Right? Or could they block access to the park because the person would have to reach it by using their private space?

I'd love to test that out----are you listening ACLU? This is an important issue, especially as we see more and more of these private malls fulfilling the traditional role of a public main shopping street. I am all for nice shopping areas and developers building successful projects, but if these places are replacing public spaces, there are some fundamental issues to address.

The dog haters should go to Kansas. :)

I don't see why big dogs cannot enjoy the park, which is PUBLIC PROPERTY. If Rick Caruso wants to ban dogs from his own property, then fine. The restriction for the park is nonsensical. Many public parks allow dogs of any size. Why should this one be any different?

Anyplace that I don't have to walk past big dogs and worry about them licking me, biting me, or growling at me is a good thing. I'm a very loving soul who just doesn't enjoy being around dogs. I'll definitely be spending more time at the Americana now that I know big dogs aren't allowed. Hooooooorrrrrraaaaaay!

Jesus, did you bother to pull public records and determine if there are any public access easements from the public ROW to the 2 acre park?

Melanie, nobody else really cares if you hate dog owners, but that was a truly myopic generalization you made about all dog owners. Owners of dogs all have various agendas, and some even teach their dog to be mean so that they will attack anyone who trespasses, so just in that one example among many, you are totally incorrect. But I can give you an address and you can go see for yourself if this guy wants you to approach his beast and think it's cute.

Christopher, I feel the same way regarding worrying about getting licked, bitten or growled at walking past, but in my experience, that concern was about men, not dogs. There may be some lechers lurking about. Shall we ban all men, too? No, because they're not all bad? Well, neither are all dogs. I tend to not like too many obnoxious teenagers hanging about, loitering at malls, but that's my problem, I'm not whining about keeping them out.

Most owners of giant breeds tend to be very responsible in training their dog, due to their size, unlike several owners of "little yappers" who spoil them and let them do whatever they want and think it's cute and OK because they're "tiny."

I've been nipped by squirrels and pigeons on occasion at the park, and some geese try to panhandle my lunch from me in an often aggressive manner (oh, and the birds poop everywhere, too), so how about we oust the wildlife?? At least the dogs can be trained by a responsible owner. If you're outdoors, expect to be in contact with things other than what is sterile or in your comfort range, or be prepared to bring your own bubble. Otherwise, stay indoors.

Here are the "entitlement" people (finger pointing up) and here's their perception of the world and nature revolving around them (finger on other hand circling that finger). That just isn't realistic.

My dog is so happy when it's time to go outside. When the wind blows on her face, she puts her face up and she is in heaven. That makes my day. Yes they poo anywhere and flies come....I would be more concern about fatty foods we eat and getting cancers than the poops and flies along the way (which I don't see a lot anyway.)

Rick Caruso is too nice. I say ban all pets. People come to shop, dine and enjoy the scenery. I hate people who think they have the right to bring their pooping, yapping, snapping animals to spoil the experience. I believe your pet would prefer to be taken to a dog park, not a upscale shopping mall. I would hate to have to smell your dog's droppings while I dine in a outdoor cafe.

I have a small dog, He is very well behaved and not a yapper. He is bred for companionship and his company is well loved by store owners and customers on shopping excursions with my friends. He sleeps quietly in his bag at malls or peeks out and enjoys the ride. No one knows he is there unless they look for him. I also have a larger dog who is also trained, but I agree that a larger dog is more invasive and inappropriate for malls. However, the main problem is poorly controlled CHILDREN and uneducated people that squeal and reach out to pet an unknown dog and then whine when they get bitten. Where are the rules for rude and ignorant people like Melanie and Stephen? They probably wouldn't even be able to find Kansas on a map.

the blurring of private / public space is certainly the issue. forget about dogs. or even protesting...

security guards do not allow visitors to take photographs, other than of you and your party. that's right—no pictures of the buildings. that's right. NO pictures.

i'm a graduate student doing research, so after filling out a lengthy permit release in the marketing director's office, just to snap some quick shots. absolutely ridiculous.

granted, it's private property. but it purports to be public, and appears to be public. here lies the issue.

what does caruso think, i'm going to STEAL his designs and build MY OWN americana? gimmie a break.

I stand by my comment. Rick Caruso should ban all pets from spoiling my experience at his mall. Keep your lovely pets where they are appreciated. A mall isn't the place.

I think that is should be all or none. I don't think it's okay to bring in little dogs because they are little and say big dogs are not allowed. I've found most little dogs to be more obnoxious than big ones. And to say that only big dogs growl, lick or bite is a gross misrepresentation. Aside from that, it's not the dogs that you should be upset with. It's the dog owners who should be more responsible than to bring a poorly behaved dog of any size into a public place. If we really want to make a better quality shopping experience, can't we ban children from shopping malls? Let's ban them from being in public ANYWHERE. They run around because parents don't control them, they run and bump into other shoppers, they scream and yell and worse, cry. They shouldn't be allowed out of the house except for school until they are 15.

You shouldn't even be taking a dog to the mall anyway!! And if you're taking it to the mall, you're probably taking it into stores and restaurants as well. That's disgusting.

Why do dog owners have such a sense of entitlement? hate them. No respect for anyone around them but themselves!


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