Bob Barker and Lionel Richie Help Move California’s New Spay/Neuter Law to State Senate

I don't live in California and will not be personally affected but I have to admit that the fact that dogs are actually being imported...

Joy  |  Jun 8th 2007


LionelRichie.jpg

I don’t live in California and will not be personally affected but I have to admit that the fact that dogs are actually being imported into California to adopt sounds like a great thing. I suspect that most rescuers and rescue groups in the rest of the country would love to have that problem.

Barker Helps Pass Pet Bill in Calif.

Retiring `Price Is Right’ Host Bob Barker Helps Persuade California Lawmakers to Pass Pet Bill
In an attempt to reduce abandoned dogs and cats, this California bill proposed that the animals be spayed and neutered. (ABC News)The Associated Press By STEVE LAWRENCE Associated Press Writer
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Jun 7, 2007 (AP)

A bill to reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats by requiring the spaying or neutering of pets has won approval in the state Assembly with a little help from retiring “The Price is Right” host Bob Barker.

The measure passed the Assembly by a 41-38 vote Wednesday, the bare majority it needed to move to the Senate.

Supporters mounted a lobbying effort that included phone calls to wavering Democrats by Barker, who contacted lawmakers after hosting his final show Wednesday.

He had ended each show by asking that viewers spay or neuter their pets. Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, the bill’s sponsor, said he also had support from singer Lionel Richie.

“Bob Barker, Lionel Richie we had a lot of help on this,” Levine said after the vote. “It’s a huge team effort.”

The bill would require most dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered by the time they are 4 months old, the age at which they begin to reach sexual maturity. Failure to have the procedure could result in a $500 fine for owners.

Levine said the bill was needed to ease a huge population of unwanted pets that is costing state and local governments $300 million a year.

The bill includes several exceptions, including for show animals, police dogs and guide dogs and for animals that are too old or ill to be spayed or neutered.

Critics of the bill called it “micromanaging at its worst” and feared it would force breeders and other pet owners to pay “extortion fees” to get exceptions.

Levine promised to amend the bill in the state Senate to allow any dog or cat owner to buy a permit that would allow the animal to remain unfixed and have one litter a year. The permit would have to be renewed annually.

Levine also said he would modify the bill’s language to ensure that a pet owner cited for failure to have an animal spayed or neutered would not have to pay the $500 fine if he or she agreed to have the animal fixed.

Follow this link to read the rest.

This is a more in-depth article from the Sacramento Bee.

Pet sterilization bill is narrowly approved by Assembly
By Jim Sanders – Bee Capitol Bureau

Millions of California dogs and cats would have to be sterilized under legislation passed Wednesday by the Assembly to reduce the burden on local animal shelters.

The measure, Assembly Bill 1634, would require spaying or neutering in an attempt to reduce the number of unwanted animals by making it impossible for most pets to reproduce.

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, said more than 400,000 dogs and cats are euthanized every year at a cost of $300 million.

“This is a hugely serious problem at the local level, and we need to do something about it,” said Levine, who crafted AB 1634.

The bill teetered for hours Wednesday, initially attracting only 37 Assembly votes, four shy of the number needed for passage.

More than 10 hours later, shortly before 10:30 p.m., the Assembly approved the bill by a bare-minimum margin of 41-38. Republicans opposed the bill, which now goes to the Senate.

The deadline for passing bills out of their house of origin is Friday, but legislators are trying to wrap up their business by today.

Levine and others say it is inhumane to allow indiscriminate breeding of hordes of unwanted animals that are destined to be euthanized. But opponents lambasted AB 1634 as largely unenforceable and said spay and neuter decisions should be left to local government.

“I think it’s micromanagement at its worst,” said Assemblyman Doug La Malfa, R-Oroville.

“It’s a prime example of why this Legislature becomes a laughingstock.”

Hundreds of animal lovers on both sides of the issue have attended legislative committee hearings on AB 1634, making it one of the most contentious bills of the year.

Assemblyman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, said legislators’ time would be better spent wrestling with crumbling roads, underfunded schools and other serious public issues.

“We’re spending our time dialoguing about doggies and kitties,” he said. “This is nonsense.”

AB 1634 would require dog and cat owners to have their animals sterilized by the age of 4 months or risk a $500 fine.

Exceptions would be made for police dogs, guide dogs, signal dogs, service dogs and various other working canines.

Pets also would be excused if a veterinarian states that they should not be sterilized because of age, illness or poor health.

Breeding permits could be purchased, for an unspecified fee, to allow reproduction of purebred dogs or cats that participate in shows or sporting competitions.

In its current form, AB 1634 would leave it up to cities and counties to decide whether to issue permits allowing reproduction of mixed-breed dogs, often called mutts.

During Wednesday’s floor debate, however, Levine said he was willing to accept an amendment to permit the owner of a mixed-breed animal to have one litter per year.

Levine also said he was willing to waive the $500 fine if owners sterilized their animals after receiving a “fix-it” ticket.

AB 1634 is not meant to spark a door-to-door search for violators, legislators have said. But if a roaming dog or cat were impounded, a citation could be issued.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, gave a detailed and graphic description of how unwanted, impounded animals are dragged, muzzled, killed by lethal injection and then dumped into 55-gallon drums with other carcasses.

Nava contended AB 1634 would reduce the number of animals housed and killed in shelters.

“I’m not asking anyone to do anything that I’m not prepared to do myself,” said Nava, who said he has three sterilized pets of his own.

Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, said it makes little sense to spend $300 million annually on unwanted animals in a state rife with crime, gangs and other problems.

“We have all sorts of issues that money could be better spent on,” he said.

Opponents of AB 1634 claim that restricting the kinds of animals that could reproduce, and charging for breeding permits, would put many hobbyist breeders out of business.

Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, said the bill essentially responds to the acts of irresponsible pet owners by forcing responsible families to bear the cost of sterilizing their pets.

“That’s not fair,” he said.

Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Hesperia, said many people have legitimate concerns about spaying or neutering their animals at 4 months old.

“Make no mistake about it, this would criminalize otherwise very decent people,” he said.

Opponents claim AB 1634 could backfire by prompting some people to abandon their pets rather than pay to sterilize them.

Levine, who does not personally own a cat or dog, said numerous free or low-cost clinics are available to minimize the cost of sterilizing a pet.

Failure to require spaying and neutering costs everyone, he said.

“We can do better for the state — and we can do better for our animals,” Levine said.

Follow this link to read the rest of the article.