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L.A. shoots down ‘Hooters for Neuters’

Several Los Angeles officials on Tuesday sharply criticized a planned bikini contest to raise money for spaying pets, saying the "Hooters for Neuters" event was degrading to women.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The city of Los Angeles' Animal Services Department will not accept money from a planned bikini contest fund-raiser called "Hooters for Neuters."

Animal Services Director Ed Boks reconsidered Tuesday after city officials said the event was degrading to women. He said the department will bow out of the July 13 fund-raiser at a Hollywood nightclub hosted by the Hooters restaurant chain. The money was slated for the department's spay and neuter programs.

"It certainly was not my intention to offend anyone," Boks said in a statement.

It wasn't immediately known whether the event will still be held.

Although the fund-raiser was not sponsored by the city, a promotional flier was posted on the Animal Services Department Web site. The original flier showed a bikini-clad woman, but the latest version shows a dog wearing a T-shirt that says "Hooters for Neuters."

City officials earlier had sharply criticized the decision to participate in the event.

"Are we going backward here?" City Controller Laura Chick said. "We are a city with all kinds of progressive programs that empower women and end discrimination in the workplace, and now we're being connected with a Hooters bikini contest. It isn't right."

Councilwoman Jan Perry said the department's attempt to be creative in telling pet owners to sterilize their animals "crosses the line."

"I was surprised and amazed with the photograph on the flier, and I don't think it projects a good image for the city of Los Angeles," Perry said.

Boks said that the owners of Hooters approached him about the fund-raiser a month ago. He said the ads were made without consulting the department.

"When somebody steps up and says they want to help your agency raise money, your inclination is to say 'Yes,'" Boks said. "But, we probably won't be involved in any future bikini contests."