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Owners of big dogs growl over pet policy at Glendale mall

May 13, 2008 | 12:33 pm

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

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