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CA Senate Bill 250 Amended and Sent to Appropriations Committee

(Thursday, April 23, 2009)

The Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on SB 250 has been rescheduled for May 11th. Please click here for sample letters that clubs and individuals can personalize.

California Senate Bill 250 passed the Senate Local Government Committee on a vote of 3-1 and will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 4th. The bill was amended to correct drafting errors and remove a section which would have required sterilization for a laundry list of animal control violations.

The bill continues to require sterilization if a dog is at-large, if the dog is not licensed, and if the dog violates local animal control ordinances, even 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. The American Kennel Club continues to oppose this bill as it unreasonably penalizes responsible dog owners and breeders. We encourage legislators to draft legislation that targets owners who are consistently irresponsible, rather than passing legislation that will harm responsible members of the community.

Existing state law already requires owners of intact animals to pay a license fee that is at least double that of licensing 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.

SB 250 would add the term "custodian" to the California Food and Agriculture code. AKC believes that "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.

The Senate Appropriations Committee analysis will NOT list support and opposition, so concerned owners and breeders are encouraged to communicate with their own Senator and the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

What You Can Do

  • Attend the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

May 4th at 10am
State Capitol, Room 4203

  • Write your Senator (Click here to find out who represents you in the State Senate) and the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding your concerns. For a sample letter, please click here.
  • Ask your club to write a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee members. For a sample letter to personalize, please click here.

Senate Appropriations Committee
State Capitol, Room 2206
Sacramento, CA 95814

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

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

Senator Ellen Corbett
State Capitol, Room 5108
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4010
Fax: (916) 327-2433

Senator Jeff Denham
State Capitol, Room 3076
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4012
Fax: (916) 445-0773

Senator Mark DeSaulnier
State Capitol, Room 2054
Sacramento,CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4007
Fax:(916) 445-2527

Senator Loni Hancock
State Capitol, Room 3092
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4009
Fax: (916) 327-1997

Senator Mark Leno
State Capitol, Room 4061
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4003
Fax: (916) 445-4722

Senator Jenny Oropeza
State Capitol, Room 5114
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4028
Fax: (916) 323-6056

Senator George Runner
State Capitol, Room 4090
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4017
Fax: (916) 445-4662

Senator Mimi Walters
State Capitol, Room 3082
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4033
Fax: (916) 445-9754

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

Senator Mark Wyland
State Capitol, Room 4048
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4038
Fax: (916) 446-7382

Senator Leland Yee
State Capitol, Room 4074
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4008
Fax: (916) 327-2186