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Local News in Brief : 2 Sides in Pet Cemetery Feud Agree on Landmark Status

A dispute among a group of animal lovers, a pair of land developers and owners of a Calabasas pet cemetery will apparently move closer to settlement today when two of the sides sign a pact to begin turning the burial ground into a historic landmark.

Officials of the Los Angeles chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Tuesday that the landmark designation is a key to a tentative agreement to sell the 10-acre Los Angeles Pet Park to a group called Save Our Pets’ History in Eternity. The designation, which would protect the site from development, is being sought under a new state law that offers pet cemeteries the same protections as human cemeteries.

The 1,200-member Save Our Pets group was formed three years ago to prevent the SPCA from selling the 57-year-old pet cemetery to two developers who had planned a residential subdivision on land next to the burial site.

The group moved to buy the cemetery itself and was within four days of completing escrow on the site in early 1985 when the SPCA halted the sale. SPCA officials alleged that the animal lovers failed to prove they could permanently maintain the cemetery’s 30,000 graves and refused to discuss their long-range management plans with the next-door developers.

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SPCA board President David M. Schacter said the sales agreement has been rewritten to spell out maintenance procedures that will offer protection for developers Jon Galiher and William Mingot.

In exchange for reopening escrow on the $94,000 sale, the pet lovers will drop a $1.75-million lawsuit filed 17 months ago against the SPCA, Schacter said.

But Galiher said Tuesday that he plans to move ahead with a suit of his own asking unspecified damages from both the SPCA and the animal lovers’ group.

He said the pet lovers have falsely accused him of planning to bulldoze the cemetery and that the SPCA has failed to keep its promise to involve him in cemetery negotiations.

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