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West Hollywood expected to ban retail sales of dogs and cats [Updated]

February 16, 2010 |  9:30 am

The West Hollywood City Council is expected Tuesday night to approve an ordinance that would prohibit most sales of dogs and cats in pet stores.

The measure, which was unanimously approved at its first reading two weeks ago, is the city's latest piece of animal welfare legislation.

About a decade ago, city leaders rewrote city statutes to replace "pet" with "companion" and "owner" with "guardian." In 2003, West Hollywood became the first city in the country to outlaw cat declawing.

The law being considered now -- called the Ordinance Prohibiting the Sale of Dogs and Cats in Companion Animal Stores -- would not be the nation's first. Last year, South Lake Tahoe adopted an ordinance banning the retail sale of dogs and cats, which, like the West Hollywood law, was aimed at curtailing puppy mills.

If approved, West Hollywood's ordinance would go into effect March 19. No businesses would be immediately affected, said Councilman Jeffrey Prang, because there are no pet stores that sell cats and dogs within city limits. [Updated at 2:14: A previous version of this post said there were no pet stores within city limits.] The ordinance also includes exemptions for humanely bred, reared or sheltered animals.

Prang said it was no coincidence that West Hollywood, a national hub of progressive politics, would approve such an ordinance.

"People who have compassion for human rights tend to have a similar compassion to all living creatures," Prang said.

Besides, he said, "We have many, many pet guardians in our city."

-- Kate Linthicum

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