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ANIMAL-RIGHTS GROUP SEEKS BAN ON CHEAP ADS FOR PETS

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An animal-rights group has asked the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune to prohibit inexpensive advertisements for inexpensive pets.

The reasoning? A person wanting to sell or acquire a pet on the cheap is less likely to care about the animal's welfare."We feel that, in most cases, those who are seeking a free or cheap pet haven't the means or the environment to properly care for a pet," said Anne Davis, director of the Utah Animal Rights Alliance, a 1-year-old humane organization based in Salt Lake City.

Davis noted that prospective pet owners usually pay about $50 at the Humane Society and the shelter to adopt a pet.

In a letter to the Newspaper Agency Corp., which handles the printing and advertising for the two newspapers, Davis asks that pet advertisements be banned from the "Thrifties" section of the classifieds.

"People looking in the Thrifties are looking for something cheap," Davis said in an interview. "If you're not willing to make an investment in finding (a pet) a good home, most likely it's not going to find a good home."

Davis asked the NAC to require pet advertisers to use the "Pets" classification, which costs considerably more. A small Thrifties ad costs $7 for four days, while a comparable Pets ad costs $31.

NAC is against the idea.

"We can't be the police," said Diana Butcher, NAC classified ad manager. "It's difficult for us to make decisions that are community decisions."

The NAC has a liberal policy for all kinds of advertisements, as long as the product or service is legal in Utah. As a result, Nevada casinos and brothels cannot advertise in the Salt Lake papers.

Giving special consideration to the Animal Rights Alliance would set a chilling precedent for other special-interest groups to demand prohibition of ads they find objectionable, Butcher said.

After contacting the Humane Society, Davis learned that some newspapers in other parts of the country have banned ads for inexpensive pets.

The Utah animal-rights people may be comforted to know, however, that the NAC does not accept advertisements for free pets.