Parma, Ohio is First in State to Add “Guardian” Language to Animal OrdinancesPosted by Stephanie Ulmer, Guest Blogger on September 15, 2011
In July, the Parma City Council voted to become the first city in the state of Ohio to officially recognize pets as family members, changing the phrase pet "owner" to pet "guardian" with regard to all animal-related ordinances. Newsnet5.com reports that Parma joins 17 other cities in officially recognizing the value of the term "animal guardian" in reference to treasured animal companions. Those cities include Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, San Francisco, Sebastopol, and San Jose, California; St Louis, Missouri; Woodstock, New York; Bloomington, Indiana; Boulder, Colorado; Sherwood, Arkansas, and Amherst, Massachusetts. In addition, Rhode Island, and Marin and Santa Clara Counties in California have adopted “guardian” language.
The city of Parma acted in response to the growing belief that the word "owner" does not accurately reflect the true bond that develops between people and animals. It is believed that the word "guardian" more adequately describes the high level of responsibility, care, and respect that people show the animals with whom their share their homes and lives.
This change is a wonderful example of people making progress toward full recognition that animals are more than property. They have a value that is beyond measure, as they are living beings worthy of proper treatment–by people and the law. They mean more to their guardians than can ever be conveyed by describing them as simply "owned." There are more than a few people who would describe their relationship with their companion animal as them being "owned" by the animal, rather than the other way around! The time has come for laws to catch up and show companion animals the respect they deserve.