Assembly Sponsor Pulls Plug on Controversial California Mandatory Spay/Neuter Bill
CA AB 1634 Pulled From Committee!
The American Kennel Club is pleased to announce that CA AB 1634 was pulled today from the California Senate Local Government Committee by the bill sponsor Assembly member Lloyd Levine. The bill would have required owners to spay or neuter all dogs and cats six months of age, with few practical exceptions. Because of this development, AB 1634 will not be considered for the remainder of this legislative session.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) wishes to express our sincerest appreciation to the entire purebred dog community for their tireless efforts to defeat AB 1634. California AKC-affiliated dog clubs and their delegates and members, along with thousands of breeders and individual dog owners rallied to our call for strong opposition to this legislation. Our California constituents were joined by their colleagues across the nation to present a united resistance against this intrusive mandatory spay/neuter legislation. AB 1634 threatened the fundamental right of responsible dog ownership with unnecessary governmental intervention and in characteristic fashion our constituents united to defeat this legislation.
We want to take this opportunity to share with you AKCs role in this significant victory. The AKC was at the forefront in the opposition to AB 1634 since its introduction on Feb. 23rd. Because of the magnitude of the threat to the right to own and breed dogs responsibly embodied in this bill, AKC took the lead including being the first organization to hire a lobbyist to oppose the bill. Throughout the California State Legislatures consideration of AB 1634, twelve legislative alerts were posted on the AKC website to alert the purebred dog community of the presence and status of the bill. All 5000 AKC-affiliated clubs including 462 in California were communicated with on a regular basis urging their opposition. Outreach to California extended to include AKC delegates, judges, and legislative liaisons, as well as California residents having bred or registered a litter with AKC in the past three years, exhibitors at AKC events, and individual dog owners. More than 100,000 individuals residing in California were contacted on numerous occasions requesting their active opposition to the bill.
AKC staff attended the bills hearings in the Assembly Business and Professions and Appropriations Committees, and the Senate Local Government Committee hearing on Wednesday, July 11th. In addition, AKC staff conducted Lobby Days in conjunction with the Assembly Appropriations Committee and Senate Local Government Committee hearings. More than 200 Californians participated in Lobby Day activities and then delivered AKC- prepared opposition packets to Assembly and Senate offices. Our 123 year devotion as the leading not-for-profit registry in the United States, combined with AKC events economic impact of over $100 million to the state of California, underscores our significant contributions.
The AKC website remained the most complete and comprehensive resource for combating AB1634. Sample letters for California residents and out-of-state fanciers provided templates for communications with California legislators. The website also provided talking points to successfully frame opposition statements during legislative office visits and included guidance on to how to best prepare for a productive office visit with elected officials or their staff. Complete contact information for every California Assemblymember and Senator was provided on the AKC website as were attractive, downloadable flyers for distribution at dog shows and club meetings.
The AKC Communications team worked diligently in concert with the Canine Legislation Department to communicate our opposition to AB 1634. Media interviews with the Fox News Channel, CNN, NPR and USA Today highlight the national media exposure of AKC opposition to this bill. Television and/or radio interviews were accomplished with the local ABC News television affiliate in Los Angeles, the CBS radio affiliate in Los Angeles and radio interviews with Palm Springs, Ventura and Los Angeles County stations. Newspaper interviews include the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, and daily newspapers in Long Beach, West Marin County, Santa Barbara and San Diego. Every media outlet in California received press releases stating AKCs strong and ongoing opposition to AB 1634. In addition staff met with companies involved in the dog world who approached AKC for advice on opposing the bill.
The AKC Board of Directors and senior management provided all the resources necessary to successfully oppose AB 1634. Ronald H. Menaker, Chairman of the Board, and Dennis B. Sprung, President and CEO, sent letters to the Assembly Business and Professions and Appropriations Committees, the Senate Local Government Committee and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ron Menaker and Dennis Sprung communicated daily with our California constituents regarding how best to defeat AB 1634. Ongoing meetings at the highest levels continued between our leadership and officials in California.
Opposition to AB 1634 extended across the United States as all concerned dog fanciers recognized the threat of mandatory spay and neuter legislation. National parent clubs wrote letters of opposition to this legislation and the AKC Delegates unanimously approved a resolution in opposition to AB 1634 at their June 11th meeting.