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Burbank moves closer to banning retail pet sales

October 19, 2012 | 12:30 pm

Burbank animal shelter
Burbank moved one step closer to banning retail pet sales this week, following in the footsteps of West Hollywood, Glendale and other cities that have taken similar hard lines against puppy and kitten mills.

After City Council members on Tuesday voted 3-2 to draft an ordinance banning retail pet sales, they voted unanimously to impose stricter regulations on commercial animal breeders. The moves could essentially prevent them from selling to retail stores in Burbank.

Animal welfare groups contend animals from puppy and kitten mills or large-scale breeding operations suffer in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions, the Burbank Leader reported.

The Burbank ordinance, which must come back for final approval, would ban retail pet sales unless the animal is obtained by a registered nonprofit animal rescue, adoption program or shelter.

Councilmen David Gordon and Gary Bric voted against the proposal just before midnight after nearly four hours of discussion and public comment on the issue.

But the ban would likely affect only new retail shops — existing pet stores will be granted some sort of exception, though the exact terms have yet to be hammered out.

"The details have to be worked out, but the intent is that puppies and cats don't come from factory-like breeding operations," said Mayor Dave Golonski.

City officials have identified just one shop — Peggy Wood's Pet Emporium — that currently sells commercially bred pets.

Store owner Ira Lippman insisted on Tuesday that the regulations were unnecessary.

"We do our best to make sure [the animals] come from sound, healthy kennels," Lippman said on Wednesday. "We'll continue, and even do better, to make sure we don't have any issues with the puppies we carry."

But animal rights activists weren't convinced.

Shelley Rizzotti, founding member of Citizens for Rescue Only Pet Stores, presented more than 500 signatures from Burbank residents who support her cause.

"I can guarantee there's a tsunami of unwanted and unloved animals in the shelters," said Burbank resident Jen Tate. "We don't need to make anymore."

Since 2007, the Burbank Animal Shelter has received 28 complaints regarding conditions of animals in pet shops, according to city officials.

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-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News

Photo: Burbank Senior Animal Control officer Stacie Levin, from left, walks with Dannie, an 8-year-old pitbull, and with veterinarian Dr. Martin Small at the Burbank Animal Shelter in March 2012. Credit: Times Community News

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