Tag Archives: Pets

50 Burbank Pets Get Into the Holiday Spirit

We asked on Twitter to show off your pets on Christmas Day.  We were going to pick the top two or three to show off to everyone.  We had a problem, 50 pets all tied at number 1!. One pet did not qualify, but he was cool with it, he has the home court advantage after all.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to send in your pictures!

Here they are, click on any image for a larger picture


Peggy Woods Pet Emporium To Close After 64 Years In Burbank

Bob Hope stocked his ponds and aquariums with fish from Peggy Woods. Andy Griffith stopped by before each Mother’s Day to buy his mom a canary. Ron Howard picked up a monkey for an old flame, and thousands of others brought puppies, kittens, rabbits, and other pets into their homes with the help of Ira Lippman and his brother, Joel.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Pictured are brothers Joel and Ira Lippman. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Times have changed. Exposure of abuses at some animal breeders, the need to find homes for rescue animals, public awareness of cities euthanizing large numbers of unwanted pets have all contributed to city laws and codes which prevent pet stores from marketing and selling puppies and other animals.

The Emporium was opened by Peggy Woods, wife of a Lockheed engineer, in 1951. Joel Lippman bought the store in 1974, and the brothers have operated the business since then. In 1976 they added the adjacent candy store to their growing business, which became a favorite of local children and adults, with a taste for jelly beans and chocolate.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

However in 2013 their run providing pets to the area ran into trouble. National backlash against animal abuse, with a focus on puppy mills in the Midwest and Pennsylvania rallied activists around the country to both expose the mills, as well as hold pet stores selling puppies responsible for alleged breeder cruelty.

According to Ira Lippman, Peggy Woods had a robust business with puppy sales accounting for more than 25% of their total revenues. The profitable business employed 18 staff, selling hundreds of puppies each year.

However, a movement was growing across the country, with national organizations taking on the cause of animal cruelty and abuse. Recruiting and teaming with local shelters and rescue organizations, the movement focused on political actions directed at city councils to enact ordinances and local laws to prohibit sales of puppies in pet stores.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Burbank enacted the ordinance in early 2014, effectively ending their run with animal sales. While he did try to support the Burbank Animal Shelter by hosting rescues, their customers wanted puppies. Although many open-minded people will provide a home for a rescue, the reality is many still want to adopt their dream Yorkie, Pomeranian, Border Collie or Husky puppy.

As the Emporium’s revenue plummeted, Lippman had to start laying off staff, many of whom had been with the store for years. Early in 2015 the Lippman brothers made the decision to close the business, and move on to either retirement or other ventures. The Emporium, and adjacent candy store, will close their doors on August 1, 2015.

Lippman admits to lingering bitterness directed at both the city council, as well as those activists who worked to change Burbank’s pet store ordinance, which ultimately killed the business. “We never knowingly sold a puppy which came from a breeder which abused animals” stated Lippman. “I visited the breeders in Missouri, and all treated animals very well.”

He also had nothing negative to say about the national pet distributor, Hunt, from Joplin, Mo. “We participated in their annual distributor conferences in Joplin, which brought us together with the company and breeders” continued Lippman. “All the animals we received were healthy, and all were checked upon arrival.”

Lippman is also deeply troubled by the potential of animal cruelty or abuse. “Animals are our life. There is no explanation or justification for abusing an animal.” Thus his bi-annual inspections and visits to breeders in the Midwest.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Lippman believes the city council voted against the pet store industry due to intense pressure and lobbying by highly sophisticated activist organizations, with nearly unlimited legal resources. Small businesses like Peggy Woods cannot afford that level of defense, and subsequently cannot defend themselves adequately, nor apply the level of influence national organizations can apply to legal and political systems.

“It is just not right,” notes Lippman.

While the Emporium sold a lot of feed, toys, and other pet supplies, competition from national chains such as PetCo, PetSmart, and Centinella are able to stock a lot more variety, and in many cases due to economies of scale can offer better prices than small businesses. And as Lippman concedes, “without the puppies, many customers simply moved on to the chains.”

There is also a bit of hypocrisy in war against commercial sales of puppies and kittens. Many pet stores, including the national chains, for example still offer a variety of exotic birds. Birds living their lives in small cages, birds which may be a second generation of animals captured in their native environments, held for breeding in conditions which rival puppy and kitten mills. Birds that will likely outlive their owners and be abandoned or released into the wild (and certain death). However that is apparently not a problem for the activists.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“It is just not right,” repeats Lippman.

So the end result for Burbank is the loss of a 64-year-old business, barriers in place for families wishing to adopt the puppy or breed of their choice, the loss of 14 jobs, and the loss of a candy store.

Peggy Woods Pet Emporium 1951 ~ 2015.

If You Build It…Donations Will Come!

Eagle Scout Bryce Lourie puts the finishing touches on the shed he built at the Animal Shelter as Denise Fleck and Shelter Superintendent Brenda Castenada look on. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Thanks to Eagle Scout Bryce Lourie, the Burbank Animal Shelter now has a Pet Disaster Preparedness Shed to house the many items needed to care for both Shelter animals and Burbank resident animals in the event of an emergency. Superintendant Brenda Castenada, Senior Animal Control Officer Stacie Levin and Volunteer President Denise Fleck, under the guidance of Police Captain Ron Caruso, have worked countless hours creating a Pet Emergency Plan to lay the groundwork and train individuals to help should the Big One (or even the not-so-big one) strike.

Volunteers and Staff have joined with the Emergency Network Los Angeles (ENLA) and have attended trainings through several organizations to assure their skills are up to par, but one thing they have been lacking are extensive emergency supplies and a place to store them.

Bryce Lourie, a Scout in Rose Bowl Troop #502, saw that need and wanted to help. To achieve Eagle Scout status, he needed to complete a Leadership Service Project and chose the Burbank Animal Shelter to be his beneficiary. He constructed a 7’ X 10’ X 8’ weatherproof shed with appropriate

Bryce Lourie weatherproofs the shed he built for Disaster Supplies at The Burbank Animal Shelter. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

ventilation to house perishable items and disaster supplies in the Shelter’s back parking lot. Says Lourie, “The shed I built will provide a secure location to store emergency equipment in an easily accessible area directly adjacent, but not connected to the main shelter building should it become inaccessible during an earthquake or other disaster.”

By requesting donations from local businesses, community members and friends and holding a Round Table Pizza Night, Bryce was able to raise the needed funds (approximately $750) to complete the project. He oversaw a team of 30 workers and put in more man-hours than you’d believe to see the project through completion. Bryce kept alert to safety hazards and assigned his workers to tasks equal to their skill level. He made sure a first aid kit was available each work day as well as a physician and required proper hand and eye protection be worn at all times.

VBAS President Denise Fleck could not have been more excited. “Since teaching Dog & Cat CPR is something I do in my non-volunteer life, making sure the Shelter and Burbank Community are prepared for animals in need ranked high on my priority list. Thanks to Bryce, we are now on the road to having the means necessary to care for the animals should something happen. We have the shed, so we now need to fill it with much needed items so that we can respond should the worst happen.”

If you are interested in helping the Burbank Animal Shelter fill up their DisasterPreparedness Shed with supplies, items needed include:

 40 lbs. bags Natural Balance Chicken Kibble for dogs

Cases (12 – 13 oz cans) of Natural Balance dog food with pop tops

20 lbs. bags Natural Balance Chicken Kibble for cats

Cases (24 – 6 oz cans) Natural Balance for cats with pop tops

5 Gallon Jugs of Drinking Water

55 Gallon Drum to store water & sterilization tablets

Scoopable Cat Litter, Scoops & Disposable shallow litter pans

Pooper Scoopers & Plastic Bags

Blankets, Towel, Pet Bedding

Crates & Carriers (preferably collapsible ones)

Brushes, Pet Toys and Treats

Collars, Leashes, Halters in all sizes

Crank radio w/batteries, Police Scanner, Walkie Talkies

Fire extinguishers

Flashlights, Lamps and Head Lamps with batteries

Hardware Gloves in varying sizes


Rope/Cord/Yellow Tape to partition areas


Collapsible Dollies to move items

Inflatable wading pools

Garbage Bags

Paper Towel

Bleach and Disinfectants

as well as water proof bins to hold these items in.

Burbank Police Warn Residents About Leaving Children Or Pets In Unattended Vehicles In Heat

The Burbank Police Department wants to warn citizens about the dangers of leaving children unattended in a vehicle.  Not only is it dangerous, it’s against the law and is considered a form of Child Abuse.  Running into the store to get milk, dropping off a letter, returning a video rental, grabbing the dry cleaning, or not wanting to disturb a sleeping child are never valid reasons to leave children unattended.  Each year, hundreds of children are involved in potentially fatal accidents when left unattended.

Whether it’s from gear-shifted crashes, sweltering temperatures, locking parents out of a car, trunk entrapments, or playing with windows and getting limbs (or even necks) caught, horrific accidents can and do happen in a blink of an eye.

Waking a sleeping child or getting a toddler out of a child seat in freezing cold or less-than-ideal weather is sometimes such a hassle, when the errand can be done single-handedly within a minute or two. But, while the actions can be explained, the consequences could never ever be undone if the unthinkable does occur.

In the event that you see any activity where you believe a child may be in danger, please contact the Burbank Police Department directly at (818) 238-3000.

A quick note about sweltering temperatures:

  • Temperature inside of a vehicle can increase by 20 degrees within 10 minutes, even with the windows rolled down.  Prolonged heat exposure can cause the child severe medical problems, such as but not limited to; dehydration, burns, and even brain damage.

Firefighters Quick Work Save Home And Pets In New Year’s Day Fire

Photo By Ross A. Benson

This New Year’s Day fire in the 1400 Block of Buena Vista caused $15,000 damage after an alert citizen saw smoke coming from the front door of a single story residence and quickly notified a passing Burbank Police Officer. The fire department sent three engines, two trucks, and a paramedic RA and an investigator, all under the direction of Battalion Chief Kenet Robertson. Once on scene the firefighter extinguished a small fire near the front door involving some Christmas items and also rescued three dogs and brought them to safety with the assistance of Burbank Police Officers. (Below) Police Officer Gevork Mirakyan assisted bringing the pets to safety. The cause is under investigation.

Photo By Ross A. Benson