The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted this week to replace the term “owner” with “-owner-guardian” in all instances where San Francisco’s municipal code mentions pets.
Attorneys for San Francisco maintain the change will have no appreciable legal effect, while critics of the proposal claim that it could lessen individual liability for the actions of pets since “guardian” implies a less delineated relationship than “owner” does.
Elliott Katz of In Defense of Animals, which has been pushing for this sort of terminology change, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “Being a guardian of an animal companion signifies a higher level of responsibility, respect and care to the animals we share our lives with.”
In Defense of Animals, meanwhile, is featuring a Bird Guardian program on its web site this month, which urges the public to never “buy” birds, but rather to “adopt” them (presumably through any number of bird adoption agencies).
Jockstrip: The world as we know it. Ellen Beck, United Press Intrenational, January 15, 2003.