West Hollywood - Photo by 917press (Flickr)
I have to trumpet the enlightened approach of the councilors and people of West Hollywood again. In 2003 West Hollywood banned the declawing of cats by veterinarians within the city. As I understand it they were the first in the USA to do this. Seven other cities followed until the state of California prohibited cities passing legislation that regulated vets!
......No person, licensed medical professional or otherwise, shall perform or cause to be performed an onychectomy (declawing) or flexor tendonectomy procedure by any means on any animal within the city, except when necessary for a therapeutic purpose.......
In a forward thinking way they have now banned the sale of kittens and puppies in stores that have been breed in kitten and puppy mills (factory type production lines that priortise profit over welfare and which are fundamentally bad for cats and dogs).
The law was passed as recently as 2nd February as far as I am aware.
So what makes West Hollywood so enlightened. Why are they at the forefront of animal welfare legislation? I am told by an American that California is not typical of the other states of the USA, meaning the bans against declawing there does not mean that other states will follow.
The city is well-known for its nightlife, celebrity culture, and diverse atmosphere. The city has large gay, Jewish and eastern European populations. The area is informally referred to as "WeHo" (src: http://www.weho.org/). West Hollywood was the first city in the country to have a majority-gay city council (src: http://gaytoday.badpuppy.com/garchive/people/032000pe.htm)
Perhaps then it is the diversity and independence of opinion that makes for a more open outlook that is more able to see the wider issues and act. I feel that the culture in some parts of the USA is a little narrow and not open to change. That, though, applies to most places.
West Hollywood was the second city in the USA to refer to pet "owners" as pet "guardians" (On February 19, 2001). This was an early sign of their enlightened approach to our relation with domestic animals. I think that they should now change the word "pet" to "companion animal". But maybe that is too politically correct.
OK then, great news. And may the other cities follow. No, may the state follow - and why not?