By: Melissa Maroff, San Fernando Valley Pet Rescue Examiner
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Concerned Burbank citizens and the Animal Rescue Community are hopeful that the “Media City” will join other SoCal cities like West Hollywood, Irvine and neighboring Glendale, and pass a ban on the sale of puppy mill dogs in Burbank pet stores.

Burbank is currently down to two stores that sell dogs from commercial breeders (“puppy mills”): Millenium Pets and Peggy Wood's Pet Emporium, which acquires their dogs from Missouri’s Hunte Corporation, the nation’s largest puppy mill broker, notorious for selling sick dogs.

Hundreds turned out for a two-day adoption event this past weekend in the parking lot of a Burbank staple, Handy Market. The event, sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society, along with local animal advocates and rescuers, demonstrated the wide variety of adoptable dogs and cats in need of homes -- and just how needless it is for pet stores to sell mill-bred animals.

“It was a huge success and really a joint effort from the entire community,” according to Christy Schilling, one of the event organizers, with Best Friends placing 40 pets into permanent homes.

Burbank Mayor Dave Golonski, Vice Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, who introduced Burbank’s anti-puppy mill ordinance (to be presented to the Council for a vote on Aug. 28) and Councilmember Jess Talamantes were on hand to lend support.

“If you love animals and want to do best by the animals, puppy mills have to be shut down,” states Alan Arzoian, Handy Market owner, who has three rescue dogs of his own at home and would like to do more adoption events in the future since this one was so well received.

“Once people start realizing their options -- what a wonderful option to adopt a pet from a shelter, Arzoian says, pointing out that Best Friends’ Mission Hills shelter is only 20 minutes from Burbank with 150 beautiful animals to choose from, not to mention the local Burbank and Pasadena shelters.

He adds, “Pet stores need to find other ways to generate business aside from selling puppy mill dogs, because once people become more knowledgeable, they won’t buy from pet stores.”

Schilling, also an organizer of the newly formed volunteer group Citizens for Rescue Only Pet Stores (C.R.O.P.S.) and other organizers like Burbank Attorney Shelley Rizzotti, were at the event canvassing support for the proposed ordinance that would prohibit Burbank pet stores from selling commercially bred dogs and cats, and instead offer animals from shelters and rescue groups for adoption.

“It was great to learn just how supportive the public is and how much they want to see the passing of this ban,” said Schilling, a Glendale resident instrumental in promoting the Glendale ordinance. She went on to say, “I grew up in Burbank and she has always had a small town feel with a big heart...not stopping the sale of mill animals in pet stores would not be in keeping with the progressive and humane reputation this city has."

C.R.O.P.S. plans to hold a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” event on Aug. 19 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the grand opening of Burbank’s Pet Rush Pet Center, which will feature adoptable pets, as well as boarding and grooming. This will be the second location opened by Businessman/Animal Advocate Rene Karapedian, owner of the successful Pet Rush, Glendale’s first rescue-only pet store.

Concerned citizens are encouraged to come out and show support at the Pet Rush Center grand opening, as well as be present for the Council vote on Aug. 28.

Says animal rescuer and longtime Burbank resident Candy Keller: “Burbank is too important a city not to join Glendale and other cities in the fight against puppy mills and the inherent cruelty of the pet trade…and the time for Burbank to go humane is now.”

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