There is current pressure by California Governor Jerry Brown to repeal the Animal Adoption Mandate, also known as the Hayden Law. This could profoundly and negatively impact animals in shelters throughout California. According to the nonprofit group Social Compassion in Legislation, the proposed Hayden Law repeal eliminates a state requirement that municipal animal shelters hold stray dogs and cats for 4-6 days, and also calls for eliminating the requirement for shelters to provide lost-found posting opportunities, record-keeping, and necessary and prompt veterinary care. It would permit shelters to immediately euthanize all animals besides cats and dogs valued as pets, such as rabbits, pot-bellied pigs, hamsters, turtles, and reptiles and allow immediate euthanasia of cats that are “deemed” feral.
If the Hayden Law is repealed, the state of California would go back to the old law (passed over 90 years ago) of holding animals for just 72 hours before euthanizing them. Seventy-two hours is not enough time for owners to locate a lost pet or for potential adopters to mull over the lifetime commitment they would be making when adopting a pet. There’s also the issue of rescue groups needing time to arrange transport and foster homes for shelter pets. At the shelter I managed in Detroit, it would be rare for us to get a rescue group to adopt a pet within 72 hours.
Governor Brown is looking to save money by ending reimbursements to animal shelters for the cost of keeping strays alive, while thousands of pet owners and animal welfare groups across the country are trying to fight this repeal. Los Angeles County supervisors said more than 1,100 lost pets were returned to their owners after the third day last year. If they had been euthanized after three days, those 1,100 pets would not have been reunited with their owners.
Some people might be aware that the Hayden Law has essentially been suspended for the last three years. However, this year the Governor is proposing a “repeal.” The difference is that a suspension is temporary and a repeal is permanent. That means that our sheltered animals will not share in California’s economic recovery. If the law is only suspended, it can be reinstated when our economy improves.
The Hayden Law Repeal will be heard and voted on in the Assembly and Senate budget committees. The first hearing is: Assembly Budget Sub-Committee #4, March 13, 1:30 p.m., Room 447. Please contact the following elected officials on Assembly Budget Sub-committee #4 and ask that they “Do Not Repeal the Animal Adoption Mandate”:
Assemblymember Joan Buchanan – Chair: ph, (916) 319-2015; fax, (916) 319-2115
Assemblymember Michael Allen: ph, (916) 319-2007; fax, (916) 319-2107
Assemblymember Roger Dickinson: ph, (916) 319-2009; fax, (916) 319-2109
Assemblymember Dan Logue: ph, (916) 319-2003; fax, (916) 319-2103
Assemblymember Don Wagner: ph, (916) 319-2070; fax, (916) 319-2170
Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield – Chair Assembly Committee on Budget: ph, (916) 319-2040; fax, (916) 319-2140
Senator Mark Leno – Chair Budget and Fiscal Review Committee: ph, (916) 951-4003; fax, (916) 445-4722
Governor Jerry Brown: ph, (916) 445-2841; fax, (916) 558-3160
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