Clothier Calls West Hollywood's Fur Ban Illegal
LOS ANGELES (CN) - A West Hollywood clothing store sued the city, claiming its law prohibiting sale and distribution of fur clothing is unconstitutional and violates state laws that protect wildlife.
Mayfair House sued the City of West Hollywood in Federal Court. It claims its Ordinance No. 11-877 violates the U.S. and California Constitutions.
The City Council adopted the law on Nov. 21, 2011, making it "'unlawful for anyone to sell, import, export, trade or distribute' any new clothing product made wholly or partly of animal fur by any means anywhere in the city on or after Sept. 21, 2013."
Violators can be fined criminally and repeat offenders can be fined again and jailed, Mayfair says in the lawsuit.
Mayfair claims the city adopted the law after John D'Amico, the law's "chief architect" was elected to the City Council on a wave of support from animal rights activists in 2011.
D'Amico is not a party to the lawsuit.
Mayfair claims the law is unconstitutionally vague and was adopted without a review of economic consequences.
Only the state can enact a "wildlife regulation," which makes the law void under the California Constitution, according to Mayfair.
"The ordinance contradicts various California statutes permitting the trade in products made of the fur of certain animals. The ordinance also conflicts with state law in that it duplicates still other state statutes that prohibit the trade in products made of the fur of only certain but not other animals, unlike the ordinance which is more sweeping in its ban," the complaint states.
Mayfair seeks declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional, and wants its enforcement enjoined.
It is represented by Michael O'Connor of Kelley Drye & Warren.
City spokeswoman Lisa Belsanti said the city's attorneys could not "comment on the specific details in the lawsuit at this time."
"The city adopted the ordinance banning the sale of fur apparel products because the sale of these products in the City of West Hollywood is inconsistent with the city's reputation as a Cruelty Free Zone for animals, and the city's goal of being a community that cares about animal welfare," Belsanti wrote in an email. "The city's position is that the ordinance is a constitutional means to further that goal."