Governor Brown to weaken California animal protection laws

California Governor Jerry Brown is proposing to permanently repeal key provisions of SB 1785, a law that protects abandoned and stray animals in shelters from euthanasia. If Gov. Brown has his way, he would repeal the following provisions under the law: animal shelters hold cats and dogs for four to six days before they can be killed; post lost-and-found lists for owners of lost pets; and, if a shelter holds and animal for only four days, it remains open extra hours in the evening and on the weekends. If those sections are repealed, shelters could put down an animal after 72 hours. The law has been suspended since 2009 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Gov. Brown, who is the owner of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Sutter, is proposing the action in order to deal with California’s ballooning deficit. According to the Department of Finance, the cost of keeping shelters open for extra hours costs the state approximately $23 million annually. In support of eliminating the 1998 law, the Department referenced a 2008 nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office report that recommended striking down SB 1785, as it didn’t result in more adoptions.

As for the number of euthanized animals, the California Department of Public Health claims that more than 327,000 cats and dogs were euthanized in 1998; in 2009, more than 455,000 were put down.

The proposed strike-down of SB 1785 has been met with protest via online petitions and social media network sites. SB 1785 was authored by animal activist former-Sen. Tom Hayden and signed into law by former-Gov. Pete Wilson.

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