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CA SB 250 Amended, Set for Hearing - Opposition Needed!

(Monday, April 06, 2009)

California Senate Bill 250 has been amended and set for a hearing in the Senate Local Government Committee for April 15th. We need all California fanciers, responsible dog owners and breeders, and clubs to write and oppose this legislation. Letters must be received by April 8 to be reflected on the committee analysis.

SB 250's primary intent is to penalize owners of intact animals and force sterilization of an at-large or unlicensed dog or cat on a first offense. This is an unreasonable standard as even a responsible owner can have a single incident where an animal is let out by a meter reader, neighbor or faulty gate.

As amended on April 2; SB 250:

  • Allows an unaltered license to be revoked if one citation is issued for a dog being at-large or stray.
  • Requires a person selling, trading, or placing for adoption an unaltered animal to post the license number if the animal is older than four months, or the age required by the local licensing agency. (The prior version of the bill required a licensing number for any sale of an unaltered animal, and it was unclear how this would affect the sale of puppies and kittens younger than four months who were not required to be license.)
  • Requires any unlicensed intact animal that is impounded to be sterilized, even on a first offense.
  • Adds a new definition of "custodian" as follows; "Custodian" means any person who undertakes the personal care and control of a dog or cat, or any person who intentionally provides care, security, or sustenance for a dog or cat on the person's property for any period exceeding 30 days. "Custodian" does not include a licensing agency."

Existing state law already requires owners of intact animals to pay a license fee that is at least double that to license a sterilized animal (Food and Agriculture Code Section 30804.5); and provides for enhanced and graduated fines for owners whose intact dogs are impounded (Food and Agriculture Code Section 30804.7). These statutes are sufficient to incentivize owners to sterilize their animals and to address animal control concerns with specific intact animals who are repeatedly impounded.

AKC believes that the term "custodian" is simply another word for "guardian." The American Kennel Club supports the use of the term "owner" rather than "guardian" when referring to the keeping of dogs. The AKC believes that the term guardian may in fact reduce the legal status and value of dogs as property and thereby restrict the rights of owners, veterinarians, and government agencies to protect and care for dogs. It may also subject them to frivolous and expensive litigation. The term guardian does nothing to promote more responsible treatment of dogs. We strongly support efforts to educate the public about responsible dog ownership to ensure that all dogs receive the care, love and attention they deserve.

This legislation will not improve the lives of cats and dogs in California, will negatively impact responsible owners and breeders, and by placing additional burdens on owners of intact animals,may lead to an increase of animals in shelters.Concentrating animal control efforts on dogs whose behavior demonstrates that they are a problem for the community would be a much better use of taxpayer funds.

What You Can Do:

  • Attend the Senate Local Government Committee Hearing to Oppose SB 250

    April 15th, 9:30am
    State Capitol, Room 112
    Sacramento, CA 95814

  • Please contact your State Senator and ask him or her to oppose SB 250. Please personalize this sample letter.

    To find out who represents you in the State Senate, please click here.

  • Encourage your club to send a letter opposing SB 250. Please click here for a sample letter for your club to personalize.

  • Send your letters to the author and members of the Senate Local Government Committee.

    Senator Dean Florez (Author)
    State Capitol, Room 313
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone:(916) 651-4016
    Fax: (916) 327-5989

    Senate Local Government Committee
    ATTN: Peter Detwiler, Consultant
    State Capitol Room 5046
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Fax: 916-322-0298

    Senator Patricia Wiggins (Chair)
    State Capitol, Room 4081
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone: (916) 651-4002
    Fax (916) 323-6958

    Senator Dave Cox (Vice Chair)
    State Capitol, Room 2068
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone: (916) 651-4001
    Fax: (916) 324-2680

    Senator Sam Aanestad
    State Capitol, Room 3063
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone: (916) 651-4004
    Fax: (916) 445-7750

    Senator Christine Kehoe
    State Capitol, Room 5050
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone: (916) 651-4039
    Fax: (916) 327-2188

    Senator Lois Wolk
    State Capitol, Room 4032
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone: (916) 651-4005
    Fax: (916) 323-2304