March 2010; KTA TV;
“WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — This famously quirky city that formally recognizes pets as companions and their owners as guardians put a leash on dog and cat sales Tuesday.
The West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously to ban stores from selling cats and dogs in a move aimed at curbing puppy mills and kitty factories.
Pet shops will be permitted, however, to offer animals from shelters, once the law goes into effect in September.
West Hollywood officials acknowledged the new ordinance would have little bite – no pet stores in the city currently sell animals – but they’re hoping it will have a lot of bark and other municipalities will follow suit.
“You have to start somewhere,” said Michael Haibach, deputy to Councilman Jeffrey Prang, who sponsored the legislation. “The more people who jump on the bandwagon the better.”
A socially liberal enclave surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, West Hollywood has long held a reputation as a trailblazer in animal welfare rights.
It became the first city in the country to prohibit cat declawing in 2003, a measure that has since spread to dozens of other cities, including Los Angeles. Another West Hollywood ordinance officially terms pets as “companion animals” and gives their “guardians” a local tax deduction for pet adoption fees.
Since the pet sales ordinance was introduced earlier this month, the city has received dozens of inquiries from other municipalities across the country, and even from Europe, interested in replicating it, Haibach said.
West Hollywood, however, is not the first city with such a rule; South Lake Tahoe adopted a similar ban last year.
Exemptions are provided for humanely bred, reared or sheltered animal, according to the city, and existing pet stores will be given time “to adjust” to the new law.
Councilman Jeffrey Prang says the goal of the new law is to eliminate the demand for commercially bred dogs and cats and reduce inhumane conditions in the breeding industry, which relies on retail pet stores for profit.
“This ordinance represents an important step toward ridding our nation of the cruelty of puppy mills and other commercial assembly-line animal breeders,” Prang said. “The ordinance not only contributes to the fight against animal cruelty it also recognizes the enormous cost of pet overpopulation in our society, both fiscal and humanitarian impacts. I urge those seeking pet companionship to consider adoption from municipal shelters and other nonprofit rescue agencies.”
This newest ordinance was backed by the Companion Animal Protection Society, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society of the United States.”
DRP Comment:Way to go West Hollywood!
Actions you can take:
Take heart from what is happening in the US. Continue and assertively lobby your local Council and State Government representatives t0 call for bans of pet shop animals unless they are re-homable Pound or Shelter animals. Contact your local pet store: ask them to stop selling kittens and puppies from breeders and instead work with local Re-homing groups to re-home shelter animals. It’s a more moral choice! There are pet shops who do this, why not?