According to a report by the Associated Press, Bloomington, Indiana became the 14th municipality to adopt language referring to pet owners as guardians. The city’s codes relating to pets refer to the animals’ “owner/guardian.”
The change was pushed by animal rights activist Karen Smith and In Defense of Animals. Smith likened the change to the ending of offensive racist language,
We’ve changed the ways we talk about racial references; (this is) another linguistic change along those lines.
In a press release, In Defense of Animals president Elliot Katz said,
I am delighted that the citizens and city council of Bloomington have recognized the value of the term guardian. Because so much animal abuse and neglect stems from viewing animals as disposable property, this is an important step in changing people’s consciousness and respect towards the animals with whom we share our lives.
Bloomington, Indiana Recognizes Animal Â“GuardiansÂ”. Press release, In Defense of Animals, December 28, 2005.