Monday evening, in sunny Southern California, West Hollywood’s City Council took one small step for dogs and one huge step for dogkind when they voted to ban West Hollywood pet stores from selling cats and dogs in their shops.
As NBCLosAngeles.com reported this morning, the City Council passed “landmark legislation” banning “the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops.” They also made the very astute move to include the stipulation of allowing pet stores selling rescued or abandoned animals to continue doing business, thereby setting the stage for a trend of shelter and rescue dog adoption in pet stores that was previously all but non-existent.
The ban was in response to allegations that a local pet store, Elite Animals, was participating in the selling of dogs that came from puppy mills, sub-par large scale breeding facilities with unethical breeding practices.
WeHo News reported that Carol Davis of Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) assisted the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the City of West Hollywood in coming together to draft the ordinance and CAPS also provided the necessary evidence, pertaining to Elite Animals transgressions, that helped push the issue onto the City Council’s agenda.
“West Hollywood’s City Council has shown great leadership, wise judgment and compassion,” Davis told WeHo News. “By considering an ordinance banning the sale of cats and dogs in our city’s pet stores [we might] save countless shelter animals’ lives locally and [we] will send a strong message to abusive commercial breeders all over the nation.”
West Hollywood is no stranger to setting the bar for animal rights issues. In 2003, the city passed a bill banning the declawing of cats, claiming the practice caused “unnecessary pain, anguish and permanent disability.” This soon caught on as more cities throughout Los Angeles considered banning declawing. Proponents of the pet store ban hope that this will catch on in just the same way.
“[This] could be the beginning of the end of puppy mills and it’s happening in West Hollywood, one of the most progressive cities on animal welfare issues,” Ed Buck told WeHo News. Buck is a West Hollywood resident as well as Director of Social Compassion in Legislation.
It looks like most are excited over the possible ban. NBCLosAngeles.com’s poll reads that 86 percent are thrilled about the news, while 9 percent are furious. Those who are furious worry that this ban will infringe upon the rights of those who are doing business with reputable breeders.
The ordinance will go through to a second vote in two weeks before becoming law.