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Burbank votes to ban retail pet sales

January 31, 2013 |  9:47 am

Burbank pet ban
Burbank this week joined the growing list of cities that have banned the retail sale of pets, but it built in a six-month grace period for existing pet stores.

Under the ban adopted in a 4-1 vote by the City Council on Tuesday, pet shops in Burbank can only obtain cats and dogs from animal shelters or rescues.

During the six-month grace period, pet shops are required to obtain the animals from breeders licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and must post the name, address and license number of the breeder, as well as information on how the consumer could trace the animal’s origin, the Burbank Leader reported.

Dozens of animal activists swarmed the council chambers Tuesday with emotional testimonies in support of the ban, contending that mill animals are bred in unsanitary conditions and often end up ill.

Eight-year-old Yanellie Ireland took the stand, tugging at the council’s heartstrings with a video in which kids stood behind a dirty wire fence to give a voice to the voiceless.

“Puppy mills are bad places,” Ireland said. Puppies "can’t talk, can’t tell you how they feel or have been treated.... I hope you will be a voice for them too.”

But Burbank High School economics teacher Bob Shaw worried the ban could devastate small businesses.

“No one wants to have a small business to have so many restrictions that it wont be able to survive,” Shaw said.

But during the meeting, Peggy Wood’s Pet Emporium operators, who have been under fire in recent months following accusations of profiting off puppy mill dogs — allegations they have strongly denied — surprised the crowd when they announced the store would convert to a pet adoption center.

“The health of pets we sell have always been our No. 1 priority,” said store owner Ira Lippman. “I want to thank those customers who remained loyal to us, and welcome back to those who have not seen us for a while.”

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-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News

Photo: Burbank City Council chambers were packed Tuesday with supporters of a new ban on retail pet sales. Credit: Ross A. Benson / Times Community News

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