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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Burbank Council Rattles Cages with Canine Ban

Peggy Wood’s Pet Emporium has been known as the place to buy puppies in Burbank. That was until the city joined a growing list of communities that have banned retail sales of pets supplied by professional breeders. Owner Ira Lippman said a significant portion of his sales and foot traffic stem from puppies of popular breeds supplied by the breeders. Now, the store at 923 N. Hollywood Way will rely on mostly older animals of uncertain breed acquired from pet shelters and rescues, which he said are less in demand. “This takes away a sizeable part of our revenue,” Lippman said. “It’s going to have a harsh effect on our business.” The City Council adopted the ban in January in a move that targeted so-called “puppy mills,” where critics say dogs are bred with an emphasis on profitability and little emphasis on care. The ordinance includes a six-month grace period during which stores can still sell animals acquired from breeders as long as they are licensed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, information on the breeder, including name, address and license number must be displayed. However, city officials say Lippman’s shop is the only pet store in Burbank that still acquires dogs from breeders. Other cities that have adopted similar bans in the last few years include West Hollywood, Los Angeles and Glendale. Joy Forbes, the city’s community development director, said the ordinance was the result of a grassroots effort by local residents seeking the change. She said the city also did its own separate research about the treatment of cats and dogs at so-called “puppy mills” and came to the conclusion the practice was unacceptable. “We just started to realize how unhealthy it is for the animals,” she said. Lippman said he is concerned about whether his store will survive the ban and plans to evaluate whether to stay open after six months. “This is going to be a big challenge,” he said. Wal-Mart Two Step The months-long saga over whether Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will occupy a 30,000-square-foot vacancy at the Valencia Town Center with a grocery store is up in the air again. Westfield Group, which owns the regional mall, pulled an item off the Santa Clarita Planning Commission agenda last month that was related to the store. The item involved structural changes to the space to accommodate a grocery. All indications are that Wal-Mart would like to open one of its Neighborhood Markets inside the Town Center. The markets sell groceries and some general merchandise, but are smaller than a typical Wal-Mart Supercenter, one of which the Bentonville, Ark. retailer already operates in Santa Clarita. Rachel Wall, senior manager of community affairs for Wal-Mart, wouldn’t discuss the company’s plans. “We don’t have anything to announce at this point,” Wall said. Catharine Dickey, executive vice-president of corporate communications for the Sydney, Australia-based mall operator, also declined to comment in an e-mail. Westfield was originally scheduled to go before the planning commission on Oct. 16 seeking approval for a redesigned vehicle entry along the mall entrance on Valencia Boulevard and renovation to the parking lot south of The Patios, where the store would be located. However, Westfield pulled the item from that meeting as well. Tom Cole, director of community development for Santa Clarita, said the grocery does not need any zoning changes to move forward. However, the city does want Westfield to make some improvements to the site to handle additional traffic. Riding High After 25 years of selling expensive European brands such as Ducati and Aprilia, Pro Italia Motorcycles in Glendale has expanded to a second location. The new location, a 2,800-square-foot outlet at 3600 North Verdugo Road, is just three blocks away from the first location. The new store opened in December to sell more moderately priced European brands such as Triumph and Moto Guzzi. Owner Bill Nation said sales of his pricey race bikes – which cost about $10,000 for the lowest-priced models – rose 14 percent last year to about $10 million. Still, he wanted to get into the market for more affordable bikes. “Most of our offerings are between $12,000 and $30,000, but the lowest Triumph model is less than $8,000,” he said. Between the two locations, Nation has about 8,000 square feet of space. His goal: 20,000. “You’ve got to carry a lot more inventory these days,” Nation said. “If you have it, people buy it.” Staff reporter Elliot Golan can be reached at (818)316-3123 or [email protected].

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