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Parma, Ohio Adds Term “Guardian” To Animal-related Ordinances

In Defense of Animals applauds progressive move led by high school student

Parma, Ohio (July 6, 2011)– In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal-protection organization with over 100,000 members, applauds the Parma, Ohio City Council for voting unanimously yesterday to replace the term “owner” with “owner/guardian” in its animal-related ordinances. Parma joins 17 other cities in officially recognizing the value of the term "animal guardian" in reference to cherished animal companions.

Guardian City Parma, Ohio city council with Brandon Yanak

IDA activist  Brandon Yanak with Parma City Council members after Parma, Ohio became the 18th Guardian city by incorporating the term “guardian” into animal-related ordinances, just days after Brandon’s 18th birth

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; plus California’s Marin and Santa Clara Counties, and the state of Rhode Island.

“In Defense of Animals acknowledges the caring, dedication and compassion of high school student Brandon Yanak and the generous assistance of Councilwoman Mary Galinas for bringing the guardian issue before the full council,” said Anita Carswell, IDA’s Guardian Campaign Director. “Thank you, Parma, for recognizing the important role language plays in creating a more compassionate, peaceful and just society for animals and their guardians.” Carswell quoted actress Mary Tyler Moore, who said: "I like the term ‘guardian’ as opposed to ‘master’ or ‘owner’. It is an honor that is bestowed on some of us and we need to treat it that way."

The high school student who led this effort in Parma, Brandon Yanak, said: "As more people begin to think and act as 'guardians' of their animal companions, I expect to see higher levels of animal care and appreciation, thus helping to end many animal-related problems such as people breeding animals and keeping too many in inadequate conditions on their property in Parma.” 

In Defense of Animals created the Guardian Campaign in 1999 to reflect and nurture the growing sentiment that “owner” does not reflect the bond that develops between people and animals. “Guardian” denotes a higher level of responsibility, caring and respect toward the animals with whom we share our lives. As more people use the term "animal guardian" more animals will be adopted instead of purchased, and fewer dogs and cats will be killed in our nation’s shelters.

Guardian City Parma, Ohio

Edwin J. Sayres, President of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), says “The term ‘guardian’ accurately describes the relationship of perpetual care that is needed to teach children respect, compassion and kindness for domestic pets. Studies show that children who learn compassion and respect for animals have a better chance at becoming compassionate adults, responsible community members, and are less likely to behave violently towards others.”

For more information about the Guardian Campaign, visit


In Defense of Animals, located in San Rafael, Calif., is an international animal protection organization with more than 100,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA's efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi, Mumbai, India, and Cameroon, Africa.

In Defense of Animals is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today! All donations to IDA are tax-deductible.

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031

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