Animal Shelter Cuts Rejected

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed cutbacks to a California animal shelter law have been rejected by lawmakers.

The Assembly subcommittee on state administration has rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to remove provisions of California’s Hayden Law. The change would have reduced the holding period for strays to just 72 hours.

The Hayden Law ensures that California shelters keep stray or abandoned animals for a minimum of four to six days before euthanizing an animal, and provide all animals with necessary and prompt veterinary care. In return, the state is required to provide reimbursement for the increased costs incurred by shelters in the performance of those duties.

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed repealing the law, stating it would save California $23 million. If repealed, the required holding period for stray and abandoned animals would be reduced to just 72 hours and would remove the requirement that sick and injured animals receive life-saving veterinary care.

According to the LA Times, the administration cited a 2008 report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office that found “no evidence” that longer holding periods had resulted in increased adoptions, the intent of the law.

The East Bay SPCA joined Alameda County Supervisors Nate Miley and Wilma Chan, and other animal welfare agencies at a rally on March 13, asking state legislators to “Paws and Think” before repealing the Hayden Law.

The rally was followed by a Board of Supervisors meeting and included the opportunity for public comment from concerned residents as well as a resolution urging the Governor and State Legislature not to eliminate life-saving mandates for lost and stray animals. 

“There has been so much progress for animals in California’s shelters since this law became effective.  A repeal of this law would be a huge step backwards. Our sick and vulnerable animals deserve so much more,” says East Bay SPCA Executive Director Allison Lindquist.

The State Humane Association of California and the California Animal Control Directors Association urge the governor to suspend — rather than repeal — the animal adoption mandate if the state is simply unable to fund the mandate in the upcoming year.

Both organizations advocate for a working group of California’s sheltering leaders to convene to explore viable alternatives. 

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