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The Senate Local Government Committee is scheduled to hear SB 861 on Monday, August 29th upon adjournment of floor session in room 3191.

As California is approaching the end of their legislative session, things are expected to move very quickly. It is critical that you contact your state senator immediately.

Your voice is especially important if your Senator is a member of the Local Government Committee. Below is the contact information for these members. Please remember if you send an email to clearly state your name and address indicating that you are a constituent in the body of the email.

Senator Christine Kehoe (Chair)
Phone (916) 651-4039
Fax (916) 327-2188

Senator Dave Cox (Vice-Chair)
Phone: 916-651-4001
Fax: 916-324-2680

Senator Dick Ackerman
Phone: (916) 651-4033
Fax: (916) 445-9754

Senator Sheila Kuehl
Phone (916) 651-4023
Fax (916) 324-4823

Senator Michael Machado
Phone (916) 651-4005
Fax (916) 323-2304

Senator Tom McClintock
Phone: (916) 651-4019
Fax: (916) 324-7544

Senator Don Perata
Phone (916) 651-4009
Fax (916) 327-1997

Senator Nell Soto
Phone (916) 651-4032
Fax (916) 445-0128

Senator Tom Torlakson
Phone (916) 651-4007
Fax (916) 445-2527


URGENT: CA BSL Passes Assembly – Help Needed In Senate

[Tuesday, August 23, 2005]

Yesterday morning, the California State Assembly passed SB 861 with a vote of 56-19. The bill will now be voted on by the State Senate. It is imperative that concerned dog owners immediately contact their State Senator and ask them to oppose SB 861. To find out who represents you in the California legislature, click here:

The amended bill will allow local governments to enact breed-specific ordinances pertaining to mandatory spay/neuter programs provided no specific breed is declared potentially dangerous or vicious. SB 861 states that “uncontrolled and irresponsible breeding of animals contributes to pet overpopulation, inhumane treatment of animals, mass euthanasia at local shelters…this irresponsible breeding also contributes to the production of defective animals that present a public safety risk.”

Should SB 861 pass, the impact on responsible dog owners, particularly purebred fanciers who participate in conformation dog shows and responsible breeding programs, will be devastating. The American Kennel Club, the California Veterinary Medical Association, the Sacramento Council of Dog Clubs, The Animal Council, and a host of other animal organizations strongly oppose SB 861, but we urgently need more help!


Points to Address:

  • Breed-specific laws are not the best way to protect communities. An owner intent on using his or her dogs for malicious purposes will simply be able to switch to another type of dog and continue to jeopardize public safety. The list of regulated breeds or types could grow every year without ever addressing responsible dog ownership. Deeds, not breeds, should be addressed.
  • When properly enforced, California's existing dangerous dog law forces all dog owners to be responsible regardless of the breed they own. Clear guidelines for identifying and managing dangerous dogs will promote responsible dog ownership and prevent tragedies from occurring. Simply placing restrictions on certain breeds will not improve public safety – it will only punish responsible dog owners.
  • Breed-specific laws are hard to enforce. Breed identification requires expert knowledge of the individual breeds, placing great burden on local officials.
  • Breed-specific laws are unfair to responsible owners.
  • Breed-specific laws increase costs for the community. Shelter costs for the community could rise as citizens abandon targeted breeds and adoptable dogs of the targeted breeds could be euthanized at the shelter.
  • Some communities have had their breed-specific laws overturned on constitutional grounds. Because proper identification of what dogs would be included is difficult or impossible, the law may be deemed unconstitutionally vague.
  • Strongly enforced animal control laws (such as leash laws), generic guidelines on dealing with dangerous dogs and increased public education efforts to promote responsible dog ownership are all better ways to protect communities from dangerous animals.
  • Breed-specific legislation is opposed by the AKC, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association, the ASPCA, and a host of national animal welfare organizations that have studied the issue and recognize that targeting breeds simply does not work.

AKC's Canine Legislation department

Sacramento Council of Dog Clubs
Joan Gibson Reid, Corresponding Secretary
and Legislative Coordinator

The Animal Council

The Senate Local Government Committee is scheduled to hear SB 861 on Monday, August 29th upon…