A late-night vote in Burbank, California, has that city following in the footsteps of many before them. When the final “yea” vote was cast, the crowd in attendance cheered.

The Southern California city, most known for its ties to movies and TV, joins an elite club of 30 municipalities across North America that are now part of this growing trend to stop puppy mills at the point of sale. Burbank, which once saw the largest influx of puppy mill puppies, shows that the momentum to stop the sale of mill puppies is building to unbelievable levels.

Elizabeth Oreck, national manager of Best Friends’ puppy mill initiatives, knew she had quite an uphill battle on her hands when she began this in February of 2012. Burbank’s primary pet store selling pets from the mill trade (there were only two) was a fixture of the community. In business for more than 50 years, they openly admitted they sourced the animals from the Midwest, and the stories of customers purchasing sick dogs were plentiful.

Oreck recalls her first meetings with Burbank council members: “When I sat down with them just about one year ago, they weren’t all aware of what a puppy mill was. I really had to start at ground zero, but we knew that it was worth the effort.”

The yearlong effort was not without its fair share of hurdles along the way. Even up until last night, there was a suggestion to exempt all currently in-operation pet stores. But Oreck and members of Burbank C.R.O.P.S (Citizens for Rescue-Only Pet Stores) worked with council members to help them understand why that kind of exemption would mean any ordinance would be lacking teeth. The version that eventually passed gives current stores six months to comply, and then bans retail sales moving forward.

Considering where it all began, the 4-1 vote just shows what tenacity and collaboration can do.

“The community really, really came together to show their support for this,” says Oreck. “That’s what makes this so exciting. There was a lot of pressure to not pass this, but over the course of the last year, we’ve really been able to turn the tide.”

It’s yet another big victory and a validation of our strategy to end the demand for animals from mills. However, this is far from over. So help us spread the word:

Original Post: The Best Friends Blog
Julie Castle
Senior Director, Communications
Best Friends Animal Society

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

Under the ban adopted by the City Council 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.

Dozens of animal activists swarmed the council chambers Tuesday with emotional testimonies in support 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 be a voice for them too.”

Still others took a more economic stance. 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’ve been under fire in recent months following accusations of profiting off puppy mill dogs — allegations they’ve 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.”

The council’s move not only bans the sale of mill-bred animals, but also the ability for stores to sell pets from any breeder — commercial or hobbyist — a move that some said was draconian. 

“Do we ban all products from other countries because they use child labor?” Shaw said. “If that were the case, then the majority of Burbank businesses would be hurting big time.”

Councilman Gary Bric also struggled with the severity of the limitations, calling them “just a little too restrictive,” but ultimately supported the ban.

Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy contended that would-be Burbank pet owners could just buy pets directly from responsible breeders.

“I think the ban limits the convenience of choice, but it does not take away nor limit choice,” she said. 

The council approved the ban 4-1, with Councilman David Gordon the lone voice of dissent.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News
Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

A paradigm shift has occurred, offering an alternative to a former way of
doing business. Many current retailers in the pet industry are embracing the
opportunity to help animals in need by working with rescue groups, shelters or
holding adoption events at their store rather than selling pets from high-volume
breeders (aka puppy mills).

Small business owners are opening pet boutiques that offer adoptable dogs, cats, rabbits, etc., while offering great services. As more people are aware of the connection between puppy mills and pet
stores, it seems irresponsible for consumers and retailers to support a cruel
and inhumane breeding industry when so many healthy, adoptable pets die at local
shelters for no reason other than space.

Retailers and customers are  smarter and more connected than ever before. The current marketplace is extremely transparent. With the increased usage of social media, consumers are
able to speak directly with businesses, not to mention fellow consumers. More
than ever, customers review and rate their experiences and share them online
with others — hundreds if not thousands of others. It is said that the most
successful marketing is “word of mouth.”

 Customers notice when retailers demonstrate best business practices. Those
businesses are trusted, appreciated and continuously patronized by the

-Ida Noack

I regard Burbank as a cutting-edge and progressive city. However, I was
extremely disheartened to find that the city is behind the curve in the national
effort to ban the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores. Puppies for sale in
pet stores usually come from puppy mills, which breed dogs for profit only,
keeping puppies and dogs in cruel and inhumane conditions. These puppies are
often abused and quite ill. People looking for a lovable companion will find an
abundance of loving puppies and dogs in the Burbank and Los Angeles animal
shelters, desperately waiting for a home.

Every puppy purchased from a pet store contributes to the Burbank and Los Angeles crisis of pet
overpopulation and equals another animal the cities must euthanize. Nearly
100,000 pets were euthanized in 2011 in greater Los Angeles animal shelters.
Dogs purchased in pet stores are not spayed or neutered, so the possibility of
these animals contributing to the overpopulation epidemic and further crowding
the Burbank Animal Shelter is extremely high.

There are so many pet stores that actually care about pets and are successful in
joining with local shelters to assist in the adoption of homeless puppies.
Please, City Council, join the national trend and ban the sale of puppies in pet
stores. It's a moral imperative.

-Kim Batchko
 A simple deduction:  Responsible breeders adhere to Codes of Ethics.  The Codes of Ethics state they won’t sell to pet stores.  So, if pet stores are selling these types of puppies, among others, they
are not coming from responsible breeders, they are coming from puppy mills.  
Here are a few excepts of Codes of Ethics from various breeds:
- Yorkshire Terrier Club of America:  “Puppies will not be sold or consigned to pet stores….”

- Boston Terrier Club of America:   “Sell no Boston Terrier to a commercial facility, puppy broker, pet shop,  puppy mill or their agent.”

- French Bull Dog Club of America:   “As a member of the French Bull  Dog Club of America, I will not sell a French Bulldog to any commercial  facility, puppy broker, pet shop, puppy mill or agent

- American Maltese Association:   “I will not…deal with commercial retailers…nor supply dogs for raffles,  “give-away” prizes or other such projects.

 -Dachsund Club of America:   “To never supply a Dachshund to pet shops, commercial brokers or

 -National Labrador Retriever Club:   “Under no circumstances will an ethical breeder…sell to pet dealers or  retailers….”

 Burbank City Council should pass an ordinance, with no grandfathering provision, banning the sale of commercially bred animals unless  they come from registered non-profit animal rescue, adoption or shelter  organizations.  Recycling and  water conservation programs along with smoking bans exist because we have more knowledge about sustainability and health.  Now, we have more knowledge about  the puppy mill industry.  It is  inhumane and does not work in our society any longer when we are killing  millions of healthy animals for no reason other than there is not enough space  for them.  
For a list of more Dog Breeder’s Codes of Ethics you can go to
the individual websites or www.dogplay.com/Breeding/coe.html
-Connie Rinicker

With all of this talk of cities banning the sale of mill-bred puppies at pet
stores, it left me wondering what sort of reassurance I have when purchasing a
pet. If I buy a dog with American Kennel Club (AKC) registration papers, does this guarantee the health or  quality of the dog or ensure that the dog came from a reputable breeder — not a
puppy mill?

I made calls. I sent emails. I read articles. I've discovered the AKC does not guarantee the health or quality of the dog or ensure that the breeder is reputable. We need to do our research. Visit the breeder in person or better yet, forget the papers and save a homeless animal's life by adopting. Google  “AKC and puppy mill” and see for yourself.

- Jen Krause
We were shocked and very disappointed to learn that Burbank has not yet joined other progressive cities to ban the sale of mill animals from retail pet stores. With all the information about commercial breeding facilities available, it seems unbelievable that these barbaric places still exist and that a large percentage of the public are still unaware. The reality is state and federal laws are slow to change and it is easier to pretend this is not going on.

This is why we depend on the Burbank City Council to listen to us and to make important changes that will trickle out and up. By individual cities banning pet stores from selling what are really substandard products, these breeding factories would cease to exist.

It seems clear that puppy mills are cruel places where man’s best friends are confined to small wire cages, with no adequate food, water or vet care. The animals get sick due to these poor living conditions, and female dogs are forced to have litter after litter until they can no longer produce, and then they are killed. It also seems clear that as long as pet stores continue to sell mill animals this will never end. Burbank needs to ban the sale of mill animals from retail pet stores.

Adam and Lindsay Rittmiller

SOURCE: burbankleader.com

Puppies and kittens are lifetime commitments, not gifts or toys to be played with for a short period of time and then tossed aside, disregarded or replaced by the next latest and greatest “thing.” This is what happens when these adorable little balls of fur and fluff are purchased as presents and it is easier than ever to buy a pet in a store or online. With just one click, a life can be purchased.

Internet sales tragically have become a major forum for puppy mills to sell directly to the public without any regulations. These sites show healthy, happy pups frolicking in fields. How does one really know what the living conditions are for those pups? How does one know that the photo of the adorable pup shown is really the one that will be sent, or even if it is, that it will be healthy? What happens if it is not what you thought, what you wanted or if it is sick? How do you get your money back, or return the life bought? This really is an outlet for more exploitation, inhumane treatment and defrauding the community.

The best way to get what you want and have the most guarantees are to see the pup, kitten, dog, cat, rabbit, etc. in person. By meeting the pet you know the size, color and weight and get a better idea of behavior/personality. The largest selection to pick from is at the shelters and rescues where animals are seen by veterinarians. Adoption fees are inexpensive and include shots, sterilization and microchip. With all the money saved you can buy toys, good food and training if necessary. By adopting you are saving a life, and isn’t that the best gift?

Ali Cohen

SOURCE: burbankleader.com
December 05, 2012

The Nov. 28 letter to the editor by Glen Forsch is a case in point for education
on the puppy mill ordinance. His “facts” are simply untrue. He states that an
outright ban would do nothing to solve the puppy mill problem, but supply and
demand is a basic business principle. Ban stores from stocking mill animals, and
fewer mill animals will be produced.

His fear that big-box stores will not comply is completely unfounded; the top
two big-box stores are already rescue-only.

Forsch suggests that proponents of the ban should take the route of anti-smoking
campaigns. That’s precisely what they’re doing. Education persuaded some
individuals to quit smoking or not start, but that cleaner air you breathe is
due to education convincing people to sign ordinances in cities (i.e. Burbank)
to make smoking unlawful in many public areas.

Education is precisely why the puppy mill ordinance is on the table now. As
the anti-smoking campaign proved, you have the right to harm yourself, but you
do not have the right to hurt others. Supporting factory farming of pets isn’t
just cruel and harmful to the animals involved; it’s a significant blow to the
moral health of this community.

Stephanie Wescott

December 5, 2012

I  have been following the evolving accounts about the Burbank “puppy mill
ordinance” and support it without grandfathering in existing pet stores.

 I'm a 38-year Burbank resident, and over those years purchased purebred puppies 
from breeders as well as rescued strays from the streets. All have been wonderful
additions to our family.

 I  do not believe that this ordinance would take away anyone's right to purchase a
pet from a breeder. Hopefully, it redirects them to a responsible breeder. A
listing of approved breeders is available on the American Kennel Club website.
Responsible breeders make every effort to strengthen their breed by breeding
better dogs each generation. They keep a small number of dogs and limit the number of
litters for the mother's health.

Reputable breeders have their breeding  stock tested and certified for health issues
related to the breed, such as  vision, hearing and hips. They will guarantee the health of their puppies by  taking the pet back, exchanging, rebating or refunding. They will educate about
their breed and its care while also asking the buyer questions about their
lifestyle to ensure that the new home is a proper fit.

Dogs in puppy mills live in deplorable conditions, and in many cases the offspring
develop  genetic health conditions leaving buyers responsible for huge veterinary bills
or leaving them heartbroken should their puppy not survive. Pet-store puppies
are most likely acquired from “mills” because an ethical breeder will not sell
to a third party such as a broker, distributor or pet store. Responsible
breeders are not profit-driven. They are devoted to their love of the breed.
Denise Taylor