July 4th, 2012 by Webmaster
In Parma, Ohio, thousands of people and their companion animals were on hand to watch 97 floats and hundreds of policeman, firemen, city officials, organizations, and citizens wind their way through the streets of the 7th largest city in Ohio. Sirens blared, candy was thrown, and people cheered for one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in Northeast Ohio. The Parma Jaycees Annual 4th of July Parade has become a tradition in the Parma community. This year, for the first time, In Defense of Animals was a part of the festivities.
IDA’s involvement started with one word – “guardian.” Last year, due to the hard work of dedicated IDA volunteer and activist, Brandon Yanak, and his very supportive City Councilwoman, Mary Galinas, Parma became the first “animal guardian” community in the state of Ohio and the 18th Guardian City worldwide. The change made it possible for some 80,000 plus individuals to become officially recognized as “animal guardians” instead of “animal owners.” In that one progressive unanimous decision, the City Council declared Parma as a humane city; one where animal companions are cherished family members, not property or objects. They confirmed Parma as a community where all animals receive consideration for their needs and interests.
A week later, In Defense of Animals was represented in a second parade that kicked off a local carnival within Parma. Hundreds more were on hand to watch boy scouts, community organizations, and numerous floats inaugurate the annual event. In both parades, Brandon Yanak and IDA volunteers educated the public by distributing pamphlets, holding discussions with interested parties, and even handing out dog toys to friendly canines in attendance along the parade route.
Moving forward, citizens, volunteers, and city officials have joined together to continue to embody the values of the Guardian Campaign and the Parma community. Volunteers have stood up against a possible deer cull to recommend humane deer control options. Citizens have voiced disapproval for the city’s breed-discriminatory law, and they are hopeful Parma will end breed discrimination as surrounding communities and the entire state of Ohio have recently done. Finally, some individuals are looking into forming a group that can successfully establish and maintain the first official dog park in the city, giving guardians and their companions a place to meet, play, and socialize.