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
Senior Director, Communications
Best Friends Animal Society