Melissa Maroff

Melissa Maroff
Los Angeles, California, United States
January 02
Melissa Maroff is a writer and animal advocate living in Los Angeles. She contributes to a variety of publications/websites, is currently a columnist for Creative Screenwriting Magazine and a former stand-up comic and TV monologue writer. Melissa would like nothing more than for animal welfare to become a mainstream issue that's not brushed under the rug.

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OCTOBER 31, 2012 10:50AM

LA’s victory for the voiceless

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Well, us “crazies” in La-La Land came through for the animals once again. Our city council just voted 13 to 2 to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores. Now stores in Los Angeles will only be permitted to have pets from animal shelters and rescue groups for adoption.  

With pet store protesting around the city for the past five years, documented proof from animal welfare organizations that these stores obtain their dogs from inhumane commercial breeders or "puppy mills" (largely in the Midwest) and city shelters filled to the brim – one wise Councilmember, Paul Koretz, decided to make a move.  

At the risk of “Why don’t you care about people?” and “Our city is broke; aren’t there more important things to worry about?” – the animal-friendly and brave Koretz introduced an ordinance that logic tells us will save tax dollars, put a dent in the cruel pet trade – and even more importantly, send a message to a severely undereducated public about that cute puppy in the glass cage.

That puppy you feel sorry for who came from a way worse place than the pet shop – where its parents are bred over and over and confined 24/7 to wire-floor cages or cramped kennels in bitter cold and unbearable heat – or perhaps even worse, inside a dark building – never feeling sunshine, grass or the touch of a human. And when they’re done being useful … sayonara, since profit is the bottom line.    

With LA on board, the word will soon spread like wildfire that when you buy a puppy from a pet store, papers don’t mean squat; kennel clubs (including AKC) make their money from registering puppy mill dogs that are inbred, over bred and often sickly – then crammed into trucks and delivered to pet stores halfway across the country. Soon, the deep, dark secret will finally be out: when you buy a pet store puppy, you’re only making room for another puppy mill dog.  

Of course, even without pet stores, there will still be those that insist on going to a breeder, but now maybe, the majority will realize how imperative it is to visit the breeder in person and not order a puppy mill dog online. 

It will be more ingrained in the collective consciousness that buying an animal isn’t status – rescuing an animal, any kind of animal when there are so many in need of homes, is sensible and compassionate – and compassion will be the new chic.   

And there are still those that think people should be able to purchase puppy mill dogs, kittens or rabbits in a pet store if they so choose, but thankfully, the LA City Council and most of us citizens think otherwise; animal abuse shouldn’t be a choice, nor should compounding pet overpopulation be a right.  

Then there’s always the “slippery slope set” that’s against bans in general; they’re afraid a pet store ban might lead to something even more “dreadful” and “freedom constricting” – that will make us slaves in wire cages, if you will. 

Or those that think, “How dare the city council interfere with someone’s business?” After all, these poor pet store owners have to make a living (perpetuating animal abuse and deceiving the public about where their puppies come from, then charging a lot for the deception). 

PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council), a group that lobbies on behalf of puppy mill brokers and pet stores is looking out for these "poor souls" and will say, do and spend anything to protect their cash cow: puppy mills. According to their website, this organization claims to “foster environmental stewardship,” “promote responsible pet ownership,” and the most telling: “ensure the availability of pets” (which somehow overlooks the 4 million cats and dogs that are destroyed each year in shelters). 

Again, thank heaven for the LA City Council, which wasn’t even first, mind you; other California cities have already passed similar bans, including right in our backyard in West Hollywood and Burbank – in addition to forward-thinking cities elsewhere like Toronto and Austin.

But this is LA, America's second largest city. This is huge. 

Chicago already said that if LA passes a ban, they would be next. 

So goes LA – so goes the nation. We the people, and the animals have our paws crossed.

















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