On April 26, the California Assembly Business and Professions Committee is scheduled to consider Assembly Bill 1881, known as the “Dog and Cat Bill of Rights”.
California residents are strongly encouraged to upload letters to the online committee portal by April 19 to ensure they are included in the official committee analysis.
Also, if you have not done so, please also upload a letter to the author’s office.
Use the links provided here and follow the login instructions to create an account (if you have not done so previously) and submit your comments to Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (author of AB 1881) and the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. Use both links to make sure you reach both the author and committee, and be sure to include that you Oppose AB 1881 in the subject line.
Talking Points to Consider:
California residents are encouraged to read AKC’s previous alert for more information on the many problems with AB 1881 as introduced. Also, this week, AKC was joined by the California Veterinary Medical Association and the Animal Health Institute in submitting a joint letter to the author and committee expressing our many concerns with AB 1881.
Consider the talking points included in the letter and these additional points below when contacting the author and committee:
1) We agree that all dog owners have a responsibility to care for their animals and ensure their health and safety.
2) Referencing “rights” will do nothing to promote responsible dog ownership or the health or wellness of dogs. It could, however, open the door for undermining the current legal status of animals, which provides for both rights and responsibilities of dog owners in providing proper care for their animals.
3) If the goal is to provide guidelines to new pet owners, they should be just that – a list of guidelines and responsibilities, not “rights” afforded to pets. In addition, the bill should be clear that the guidelines should not be enforced as law.
4) Using vague terms such as protecting a dog from anxiety and preserving mental well-being could imply that actions in the dog’s best interest – such as going to a veterinarian – should be avoided if they cause stress to the animal. Respectfully ask that such terms be removed.
5) Implying that all dogs and cats should be spayed or neutered ignores the many reasons a person may humanely and responsibly choose to keep an animal intact – including participation in AKC events, responsible breeding, and consideration for the health of the animal. This is a decision that should be made by responsible owners in conjunction with their veterinarian.
6) Referencing “rights” conflates actions of humans (taking a dog to the veterinarian, having the dog sterilized) with actions of animals (animals taking these actions themselves).
7) California code, as well as local governments throughout the state, already have numerous laws governing the ownership and care of animals. The focus should be on education and enforcement, rather than implying a complete change in the way animals are cared for and protected in the state.
AKC Government Relations continues to work with the committee on several bills impacting California dog owners and will provide updates as they are available. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.