Sadly, it’s official, California has cut the holding time of shelter dogs from six days to three. In 1997 the Hayden Bill, otherwise known as the Animal Adoption Mandate, required shelters to hold abandoned animals a minimum of four days and usually up to six.
The passing of the new budget has undone what this bill was meant to do, give owners time to find their lost pets. It’s not always easy to track down your pet when there are multiple shelters in the area. Having extra time also gave kill shelters a chance to transfer some of the animals to rescue organizations or no-kill shelters. Now that the time has been cut in half not nearly as many animals are going to be saved.
“It makes a difference because for some animals every day counts,” said Cindy Machado of the Marin Humane Society, which does not euthanize animals that can be adopted. Instead, the society rescues thousands of animals facing death at other shelters.
“The new law will affect a lot of the shelters that we rescue animals from because, especially in this economy, they are bursting at the seams,” she said.
Most Bay Area animal shelters do not kill strays unless they have serious health or behavioral problems – for instance, viciousness – that would make them unsafe to adopt.
Yet many smaller, rural shelters in the Central Valley and in the northern part of the state do not have the space to keep animals longer than required by state law. These shelters are, in many cases, full of pets given up by people who have lost their jobs, seen their homes foreclosed upon, or been forced to move in search of work.
“The places that are overrun with animals don’t have many resources, and now the law will essentially allow them to euthanize animals more quickly,” said Scott Delucchi, vice president of the Peninsula Humane Society. “Probably those shelters were euthanizing animals anyway. It will just be earlier.”
According to this article, published in the San Francisco Chronicle, more than 400,000 dogs and cats were euthanized statewide in 2008. I realize budget cuts needed to be made in California, but the passing of the new law shows exactly how little value is placed on the lives of dogs, it’s a sad statement about our society.
The one thing to take away from this article is the importance of making sure your dog is properly ID’ed, it could mean the difference between life and death. Microchips remain the most effective way to permanently identify your pet. Keep in mind it must be scanned with a special device, one not available to the public.
We have Dogsters Together Tag, an innovative pet ID and recovery service. The tag contains all the necessary information but it also has an ID number which links back to a website, anyone with an internet connection will be able to access it. If you need to make any changes just go online and update the information.
Even if you don’t live in California it’s imperative to make sure your dog has ID, most lost pets don’t find their way back home. Don’t let your beloved pet become another statistic, part of the 9.6 million animals euthanized nationwide each year.