In his Comment column headlined “Why Weho Businesses Should Howl” in the Nov. 15 issue, Charles Crumpley unfortunately mischaracterizes the scope of the effect of the “puppy mill ban” on pet stores in West Hollywood. In fact, very few pet stores in West Hollywood have been affected by the ban and many stores encouraged its enactment.

Banning the sale of puppies from puppy mills is good public policy and good business. Since its incorporation as an independent city in 1984, West Hollywood has been a forceful advocate on behalf of civil rights and human rights. We have also been proud advocates for the cruelty-free and ethical treatment of animals.

There is no dispute that the city of West Hollywood has a thriving partnership and a positive relationship with its business community. During these difficult economic times, the innovation and creativity of our businesses have enabled the West Hollywood economy to weather this recession a little better than many other cities. This is due, in part, to the successful business model that caring about people, animals and the planet is not inconsistent with the ability to be a successful business. Our residents and visitors expect our businesses to enthusiastically embrace the humane treatment of animals and when they do they are richly rewarded by their customers.

Cruel and inhumane

A puppy mill is a commercial breeding kennel that warehouses dogs in overcrowded cages sometimes for their entire lives. These puppies are often neglected, and subject to cruel and inhumane treatment including living in unsanitary and disease-infected conditions, lacking food and water, and being denied medical treatment when they are sick. According to the Humane Society of the United States, most puppies sold at pet stores are from puppy mills.

Pet stores that sell puppies from puppy mills encourage and support this despicable practice as well as take great risk that in the long run they may lose customers. They also risk accusations of consumer fraud and deception as oftentimes these mistreated animals have undisclosed illnesses, emotional and behavior difficulties as well as other problems.

In the face of criticism and ridicule, the city of West Hollywood has always been willing to adopt policies that encourage us all to be mindful of our responsibility to respect and protect all inhabitants of our planet. Our business community has always shown the flexibility and creativity to adopt to these important policy changes and, sometimes, encourages their enactment.

We are proud that through our efforts we have increased public awareness about the inhumane business practices of puppy mills. We do not stand alone on this issue. Many cities and states throughout this country and world are standing up to ban the sale of animals from puppy mills because in the long run it is not only good public policy but good business!

Jeff Prang is a West Hollywood City Council member.

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