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Calif. cities may outlaw pet 'owner' label
Los Angeles-A judge in San Diego rules pets have no emotional value while the city council of neighboring city, Los Angeles, may sympathize with the four-legged creatures, by demanding pet "owners" reclassify themselves as "guardians."
Los Angeles-A judge in San Diego rules pets have no emotionalvalue while the city council of neighboring city, Los Angeles, may sympathizewith the four-legged creatures, by demanding pet "owners" reclassifythemselves as "guardians."
Animals aren't property, argue activists such as In Defense of Animals,a rights group based in Mill Valley, Calif. City by city, the groups arerallying to convince Los Angeles and others nationwide to replace the termin local codes by renaming owners as guardians.
In June the Los Angeles Services Commission voted to replace the termin its documents. Council members were to vote in late July to determinewhether the proposal should apply citywide.
"It's not a tidal wave of cataclysmic change that people are goingto be thinking of pets as human children or anything like that," CommissionPresident Paul Jolly told the Los Angeles Times. "It subtly moves thethought process so that animals are treated as sentient beings that deserveour respect."
It's more than a subtle move says Dr. Duane Fleming, a veterinarian andlawyer in Pleasant Hill, Calif. Without ownership, there's no control.
Animal rights groups suggest the name change enhances the concept thatanimals will be treated as part of a family.
"(Animals will be) like modified people and entitled to all therights and privileges people are entitled to," Fleming tells the SanFrancisco Examiner.
"You can't have rights without responsibilities," he adds.
Some cities that have already invoked the name switch are: Berkeley,Calif.; Boulder, Colo.; Amherst, Mass.; Sherwood, Ark.; and Menomonee Falls,Wis. San Francisco and Marin County city officials are scheduled to visitthe issue soon.
A short drive south on Highway 5, an unnamed judge in San Diego ruledin favor of the San Diego Humane Society that animals are property and haveno sentimental value.
The case involved a family horse that was seized and euthanized by theHumane Society. The horse was reportedly part of the family for 38 years.
The Humane Society argues the horse was put down because it was feebleand in distress. The horse owner sued the society for emotional distressand violation of his civil rights, saying his horse was not in pain. Hedemanded financial value for the emotional attachment.
Since animals are considered property in San Diego, no financial reimbursementwas awarded.