Efforts to reduce pet overpopulation gear up for halftime negotiations, education
Florez hopeful members will see true intent, move to save pets and tax dollars
SACRAMENTO – Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, announced today that his measure to reduce pet overpopulation and needless euthanasia will be put on hold until January, as supporters use this “halftime” to engage in negotiations to garner the 13 votes necessary for passage in the California State Assembly.
Senate Bill 250, The Pet Responsibility Act, encourages pet owners to license their pets in an effort to reduce the $250 million spent in this state each year to house and kill unwanted pets in already overburdened local shelters. Owners who choose to keep an unaltered dog would need to obtain an unaltered license and abide by existing local animal control ordinances; licensing is already required for all dogs in the state. SB 250 also requires that cats which are allowed to roam freely be altered.
Florez is excited that SB 250 has made it further in the legislative process than previous attempts to encourage responsible pet ownership, some of which mandated spaying and neutering and usurped local control – measures he opposed. He is hopeful that additional time to clarify the bill’s intent and explain to members how it differs from past legislation will allow it to move forward to the Governor’s desk in January.
Exceptions have already been made in SB 250 for service dogs, hunting dogs and dogs working in law enforcement. The bill would not affect current law which protects owners from being cited at private events on private property, such as dog shows. Florez has pledged to continue working with members to address their concerns, so long as the intent of the bill remains intact.
“Opponents have falsely labeled this bill as mandatory spay and neuter, and many of the untruths being spread have given members pause. I look forward to sitting down with those members over the recess so the true intent of this bill can be made clear, and we can get to the business of improving life for our pets and saving taxpayers from the enormous expense of cleaning up after irresponsible folks who over-run our shelters with their cast-offs,” Florez said.
“No responsible pet owner has to worry that the ‘puppy police’ will come knocking at their door. No one is going to force you to get your dog fixed if it gets out of the yard once. This bill is a tool for local animal control to use in dealing with irresponsible pet owners whose chronic disregard for the law is taking a financial and emotional toll on taxpayers, pet lovers and shelter workers,” added Florez.
SB 250 passed the Senate by a vote of 21-16. It has 28 votes so far in the Assembly.