EDITOR’S NOTE: This and the interview with Councilman David Gordon, are the final articles in a series researching the introduction of a proposed pet Sales and Breeding Regulations Ordinance that may potentially eliminate the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in the City of Burbank.
BurbankNBeyond requested interviews with city council members to learn and publish their positions and opinions on the topic, issues, and proposed ordinance. Vice Mayor Gable-Luddy and Councilman Dr. David Gordon agreed to discuss the issue with BurbankNBeyond, other council members and the Mayor did not respond to requests for interview.
The interview segment with Councilman Gordon is the final in this series. You can read Councilman Gordon’s interview to gain a different perspective and viewpoint on the issue.
Previous articles in the series include:
- Interview with Councilman David Gordon
- Burbank Takes on Puppy Mills – An Animal Rights Perspective
- Burbank Takes on Puppy Mills – A Pet Store Owners Perspective
- Burbank Takes on Puppy Mills
Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy: The issue is about mill puppies. Puppies that are purchased from known puppy mills or factory breeding facilities. There is a critical distinction to make. Nobody is against adopting or selling puppies from reputable breeders, but I think the community, the residents, through their testimony (at city council meetings), their letters, and their petitions, have made it pretty clear that they are in opposition to perpetuating puppy mills by purchasing puppies from those kinds of breeding facilities.
But they’re not opposed to having puppies.
The community made a very clear point of that during our last council meeting (16 Oct).
BurbankNBeyond: How did you get involved?
Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy: I brought it to council at the first step for consideration by council as a whole. It was brought to my attention by Burbank residents. Any council member can introduce an item for additional discussion and possible action.
City staff then brought a report to council for discussion on whether to proceed or not.
BurbankNBeyond: Within the city, how big a problem is this (puppy mill discussion)? Is this a big enough problem that it really justifies this much attention and emotion for discussion by the Burbank City Council, as well as the residents of Burbank?
Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy: Well the residents of Burbank have really spoken up and they themselves have said they want this kind of business stopped. And frankly it’s about the humane treatment of, in this case, dogs.
As long as there is demand for puppies from puppy mills there will be factory breeding facilities. While it is clear they are not (commercial breeders) in Burbank, I think it is pretty clear the community has said we don’t want to be participants in this inhumane practice.
There are no breeding facilities in our community.
BurbankNBeyond: What impact will this, a single community have in the long term objective in stopping puppy mills?
Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy: The Animal Welfare Act is nearly 50 years old.
One of the most impressive things that I think can happen is people at the grass roots level, and that may be an individual neighborhood, or an individual community starts to take action.
It’s by that kind of community by community action that we finally see an effect at the state or national level. Rather than look at this as a city by city thing, I think, my experience has been that it is extremely grass roots.
People are recognizing that breeding a female over and over and over again with multiple litters on an annual basis, in the conditions that have been documented.
If you look at the materials presented you will see this is factual information. I think grassroots is good.
BurbankNBeyond: Should the federal government take a more proactive approach to the issue?
Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy: It is always good to approach your legislators, whether local, state, or federal and ask for a strengthening of laws or reinforcement of laws.
I don’t think any of us would argue with that.
The only focus on the City of Burbank is focusing on the community. I am certain that the direction we (City of Burbank) take on this that it will gain the attention of state legislators.
BurbankNBeyond: Should I have the right to adopt or acquire any puppy I want, a husky puppy, or a malamute puppy?
Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy: There are a variety of sources for acquiring puppies. And there has never been any problem with buying them from a reputable breeder, or adopting from a rescue, or adopting from a specialty breed rescue.
There is no problem acquiring a puppy from a breeder if you are seeking a particular breed. There are plenty of reputable breeders who breed those kinds of pure-bred dogs.
What I’ve been impressed with when you go to someone who is a reputable breeder is that first of all they do not “sell” their dogs. Secondly they interview the people who are considering buying puppies. And thirdly they make the potential buyer very much aware of the temperament of the dog to see whether or not the owner understands what’s required, and if it’s the right kind of dog.
It’s a much more one on one understanding. Many of the reputable breeders will require the buyer to spay or neuter the dogs.
BurbankNBeyond: Do you have a position on puppies bought or sold over the Internet?
Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy: There are so many legitimate breeders in Southern California that I’m surprised someone wouldn’t just take the time to see the litter and meet the parents, see what kind of facility they are being raised in, and conclude their purchase in that manner. That seems like the most humane thing to do.
BurbankNBeyond: What happens if this ordinance passes?
Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy: I think it may result in some business changes for stores which sell mill puppies. But I don’t think it puts them out of business. And it doesn’t preclude them from buying puppies from reputable breeders, or acquiring puppies from an adoption or a shelter.
I think it will resolve concerns raised by the community.
I wouldn’t say this is a Best Friends (Animal Society) driven discussion. If it was a Best Friends driven discussion you wouldn’t have the hundreds of letters, petitions, and letters to the editor.
BurbankNBeyond: What do Burbank residents need to know about this issue prior to the next council meeting?
Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy: It is very important that residents come to Council, or communicate with Council and let them know their position on this (discussion). It is important that residents continue to educate themselves on what the alternatives are, and it is important that residents speak out.
If residents continue to show up as they have in the past that that they are demonstrating to all of us that they want to put an end to this inhumane kind of treatment to animals.
I think our community should know that our staff reports are coming out usually a few days before the Council meeting, and should be available by next Thursday.
Just like people have weighed in on the Internet, I think it is important to continue the dialog.
During the last community meeting on October 16th there was a preponderance of evidence that Peggy Woods (Pet Emporium) has purchased puppies from puppy mills, that the (puppies) came from Missouri, and that the violations (if you look at the page), that there was a USDA record of violations if you look at the facility that occurred at the time one of the dogs was there (dogs offered for sale at Peggy Woods).
So it seems to me there is a preponderance of evidence that they would have bought (Peggy Woods) from puppy mills.
From my point of view that’s not an ethical business practice.
BurbankNBeyond: Why do you think Councilman Gordon would be so reluctant to support the issue or community’s position?
Vice Mayor Gabel-Luddy: After all the presentations were done (at the end of the October meeting) I asked everybody on council, all of my colleagues, members if the presentation by Ms. Rizzotti’s (Shelly Rizzotti, BurbankCROPS) changed anybody’s mind about how they felt about things. Because her research was so specific, and from my point of view so impeccable. And I know Mr. Golonski (Mayor, City of Burbank) answered me, but Councilmember Gordon did not.
So I don’t know. It seemed to be clearly the community desire to change the business model of that (sales of commercially-bred puppies) that practice here in Burbank. Which I applaud.
We raised the possibility his son worked at Peggy Woods, and I think he admitted as much. So I don’t know.