West Hollywood proposes ban on exotic animal performances

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The city of West Hollywood will vote Monday night whether to prohibit exotic animal performances. Monkeys, tigers, elephants and ostriches are some of the wild animals that would be protected under the ban.

West Hollywood City Councilmember Jeffrey Prang said his proposal applies to circuses and other commercial displays that are currently legal across the state.

"Let's say there's a new brand of sneakers called ocelots and they decide to have a kickoff party in West Hollywood, which is very common, and then decide to have a bunch of wild ocelots caged up for people to gawk at," Prang said. "I think that's inappropriate and those sort of things do happen and I think we're making a statement that we don't want them to happen here." 

If passed, West Hollywood would join other cities that have already banned public animal performances, including Huntington Beach, Corona, Pasadena, Santa Ana, Irvine, Rohnert Park and Encinitas. 

"We believe this should be adopted under state law," Prang said. "The legislature has not seemed fit to take it up so cities are adopting them on a city by city basis." 

Councilmember John Duran said he isn't aware of any opposition to the proposal.

"Many of us, including myself when I was a child, you know I went to the circus and I enjoyed it, but when you sit back and think about it just a bit, these animals are wild, they're captured, they're trained, either using severe discipline or severe reward, and they're just not allowed to be in their natural state," he said.

The proposed ordinance exempts some educational activities or film productions, which are overseen by animal care experts or other groups. 

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