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CA SB 250 Moves to Full Assembly - Letters and Phone Calls Needed!!!

(Friday, August 28, 2009)

California Senate Bill 250 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee yesterday on a partisan vote with Democrats De Leon, Ammiano, Coto, Fuentes, John A. Perez, Skinner, Solorio, Torlakson and Hill supporting the bill and all Republicans and Democrat Charles Calderon voting to oppose. Democrats Davis and Hall and Republican Harkey abstained. The bill will now move to the full Assembly. It is vital that California dog owners contact their Assemblymember and ask him/her to oppose SB 250.

Senator Florez has still failed to amend the bill as he promised when the bill left the Senate on June 2nd, so it is possible that floor amendments will be presented. The amendments are expected to address exemptions for working dogs or those involved in hunting activities. A second amendment will require sterilization the 2nd time a dog is at-large, rather than the first. Until we see the text of these amendments, we cannot know their full impact. Regardless of any changes, this legislation is fundamentally flawed in that it unfairly and unreasonably targets owners of intact animals.

The American Kennel Club opposes Senate Bill 250 as it continues to use sterilization as a punishment for any violation of the animal control ordinance and for failure to license. Strict limit laws and unreasonably high license fees contribute significantly to people’s failure to license their animals and these issues should be examined in dealing with animal control issues in the state.

Finally, existing state law already requires that owners of intact animals 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 impounded repeatedly.

This legislation will not improve the lives of cats and dogs, will negatively impact responsible owners and breeders. Additionally, by placing additional burdens on owners of intact animals, this measure 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, regardless of their reproductive status, would be a much better use of taxpayer funds.

What You Can Do

Contact your Assemblymember and ask him/her to oppose SB 250. A sample letter is available here. To find out who represents you in the California State Assembly, please click here.