The circus is not coming to WeHo.
At least, not with animals if council members Jeffrey Prang and John Duran have it their way.
Once again set to flex their progressive pipes, the West Hollywood council members will consider an ordinance Monday that would ban the commercial display and performance of wild and exotic animals.
Included in the ban would be circus acts, carnival performances, trade shows, parades or any event that involves wild animals performing tricks or performing.
So make sure your bears and badgers aren’t showing off.
Also listed by the city: elephants, alligators, kangaroos, venomous reptiles, giraffes, hippos, hyenas, skunks, armadillos and a whole lot more.
According to the ordinance, the city intends to “protect the public against hazards associated with commercial display or performance of wild and exotic animals and to protect wild and exotic animals from cruel and inhumane treatment.”
If you’re displaying said animals for educational purposes, breathe easy: you’re exempt. Also, oddly enough, you’re exempt if they’re being displayed before less than 20 people.
“We recognize that the circus aspect is not applicable here,” Prang said. “We’re not going to have the circus in West Hollywood. We don’t have the venue for it.”
He continued, “One thing we’ve done over the years, as far as animal welfare, is work with a community of cities in efforts to adopt state law to enact some of these reforms. For whatever reason, the state legislature can’t get its act together so we do it through grassroots.”
According to Prang, West Hollywood is “joining in the momentum” that has already started in other cities that have adopted similar ordinances, including Corona, Pasadena, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Encinitas, Irvine and Rohnert Park. The Orange County Fair and the Los Angeles Fair have also banned elephant rides.
Attached to the ordinance is a letter from Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, who lauds the proposal and thanks the council for considering it.
But this is nothing new for WeHo, where our pets are not “owned,” they’re “guarded.” In fact, we erred in calling them “pets” — they’re “companions.”
In 1989, the city declared WeHo to be a “cruelty-free zone for animals” and banned cosmetic testing on animals and the use of steel leg-hold traps.
In 2003, WeHo became the first city in the nation to ban cat declawing.
In 2010, WeHo banned retail sale of cats and dogs to keep out “puppy mills.”
And, most recently, WeHo was the first city in the nation to ban the sale of fur, which goes into effect on Sept. 21.
And now, if passed Monday, exotic animal performances would join the list.
No word yet if the ordinance would apply to giant pink dogs wearing water bottles and tennis shoes.