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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Governor’s Euthanasia Plan Meets Opposition

BY KAYLA BROWN

Governor Jerry Brown’s attempt to ease California’s growing deficit may also reduce many animals chance to live.
Brown is seeking to repeal the current standing animal protection act, the Hayden Law, which allows for animal shelters to extend the timeline before the use of euthanasia.
This protective measure was implemented in 1998, when Senator Tom Hayden fought to increase California’s holding period for impounded animals from 72 hours to four-six days.
The Hayden Law not only gives owners of lost animals additional time to find their pet, but also requires shelters to give other species, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, adequate and equal care as dogs and cats. This law also mandates the posting of lost-and-found lists as well as veterinary care for sick and injured animals.
Brown aims to eliminate the $23 million a year that was paid by the state to cities and counties under the Hayden Law by decreasing animal holding back to three days.
Opponents question the assumption that animal owners ability to find their lost pets in just three days when one must often visit several shelters before they find the one where their pet may be held.
Stray and abandoned animals would also have a greatly reduced chance of finding a home before being euthanized.
Opponents of the governor’s plan state that, rather than cutting the life span of a lost animal, there are alternative options to offset the expenses of animal shelters.
In the local community, non-profit organizations like the local Malibu Pet Companions have partnered with the local shelter to aid in the funding of medical care.
According to the Companions website “the result has been thousands of animals lives saved over the last 10 years.” If the Hayden Law is repealed animals will automatically be euthanized within days of their arrival.
Even though Evelena Villa, an L.A. county Department of Animal Care and Control representative, has stated that the department, regardless of state legislation, “has made it a policy to hold an animal up to four days plus day of impound.”
With shelters like the local Agoura shelter, with many volunteers and space, “Animals are often held for about a month and have a very high adoption rate.” Depending upon the particular stipulations made through Governor Brown’s repeal, this reprieve may end.
Animal lovers and activist have joined in arms and are actively protesting against the repeal of this law. With almost 56,000 signatures on a online petition titled “The Governor of CA: Do not repeal provisions of the Hayden Law,” opponents state, “There is no justification, budgetary or otherwise, for making these changes permanent.”
Outraged protesters have filled the change.org website with testimonials and heart wrenching stories about finding their lost pets, or consequentially finding them too late. For further information visit http://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-ca-do-not-repeal-any-provisions-of-the-hayden-law.
The News contacted Governor Brown’s office this week, and representatives noted that the repeal of the Hayden Law is still pending.
Individuals interested in expressing their views on the issue can contact the Governor by mail at Jerry Brown c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173 Sacramento, 95814; by phone at 916-445-2841; fax at 916-558-3160 or online at http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php

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