BACKTALK--On Tuesday, CityWatch posted an article that loosely - very loosely and deceptively - tried to paint a picture of why I support the No Kill philosophy for the City's animal shelters and why I do what I do in the realm of animal welfare. The article got it wrong. I do what I do because I love animals and want to see as many of them live good lives for as long as possible. (Photo above: Councilman Koretz on right with LA Controller Ron Galperin and a friend.)
Another thing the article got wrong was its contention that the City Council will pass a Zoning Code amendment on Wednesday, February 17th that will make it easier for pet shops to keep adult animals on site overnight by removing pet shops from the City’s Zoning Code definition of kennels. The City Council is NOT considering an ordinance about pet shop zoning on the 17th, it's merely voting on giving an instruction to the City Planning Department to go through a normal process to propose such an amendment to the Zoning Code.
Such proposals typically require a general public hearing, a City Planning Commission hearing, a City Council Planning and Land Use Committee hearing, and possibly a City Council hearing, all before such an ordinance could even finally be voted on. That would provide at least three opportunities for anyone to publicly weigh in on the issue.
The LA City Planning Department in 2013 officially opined that it was okay to have four-plus adult dogs in pet shops in commercial zones. When Phyllis Daugherty, author of the CityWatch article, successfully filed suit against that action, one of her key contentions was that the proposal had not been properly vetted with the public (a desire she reiterates in her article).
So now the City is proposing to do exactly what she demanded, and is demanding, and either that's not good enough for her or she simply doesn't understand. Some confusion was evident when she testified against the proposal at a recent Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee meeting, which I chaired.
The purpose of all this is to make it easier for both for-profit and nonprofit entities to have storefront adoption centers that make adult dogs and cats from shelters and rescue groups available instead of just puppies and kittens. This supports the City’s 2012 ordinance prohibiting the sale of mill-bred animals within the city limits.
For those who are interested in the issue, it's important to keep in mind that the pet shop zoning proposal is not at the end of its approval process, it's at the beginning. If the City Council votes "aye”, you'll have plenty of opportunities to voice your opinions on the substance of the matter. I hope you will.
(Paul Koretz is Los Angeles City Councilmember from the 5th District.)