How a society treats dogs and cats is one reflection of that society’s state of grace. In the pursuit of creating a more humane society, the American way of life is shifting. This means that business owners in Los Angeles who sell pets need to step up and reconsider how they make a living.

The issue currently provokes hissing, whining, scratching, spitting, snapping, puffed-up tails, growls, bared teeth and claws from these local business owners in the form of a proposed city of L.A. ban on the retail sale of pet dogs and cats.

The draft states in part, “It shall be unlawful for any person to sell any live dog, cat or rabbit in any pet store, retail business or commercial establishment located in the city of Los Angeles, unless the dog, cat or rabbit was obtained from an animal shelter or humane society located in the city of Los Angeles, or a non-profit rescue and humane organization registered with the Department of Animal Services.”

In the pages of the Business Journal and elsewhere, breeders, pet shop owners and others who sell animals, often pricey purebreds, whimper that if passed, this ban will make them change their policies and adopt a more humane business model. Awwwwww. Three words for all of you: Boo. Frikkin’. Hoo.

A case in point is Andrew Mazor, who owns Puppy and Me in Sherman Oaks and was interviewed in the July 30 issue of the Business Journal (“Pet Peeved”). According to the article, Mazor primarily sells small, purse-size dogs at his shop, such as Chihuahuas, dachshunds and Shih Tzus, with prices often ranging from about $900 to $5,000, depending on the rarity of the breed.

This agenda reveals a really twisted and craven reason for having a pet. A $5,000 dog, bred specifically to peep adorably out of a Prada bag, is a fashion commodity, an accessory, a toy. This is relevant in the context of people who describe themselves as animal lovers when animal shelters in Los Angeles are brimming with animals about to be put down.

Euthanasia rates are up. One reason is that people in Los Angeles are downsizing their homes and ditching their pets as they move to smaller places that may not permit animals.

Effects of this trend and related issues were discussed by Zev Yaroslavsky, a Los Angeles County supervisor, in his Feb. 8 blog post. There, he quoted David Dijkstra, county Department of Animal Care & Control chief deputy director, as stating that shelters have become more crowded because owners have had difficulty caring for their pets in this economy.


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