Gov. Brown Repeal Proposal Would Allow Shelter Euthanasia After 72 Hours

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Pet advocates are fighting like cats and dogs to stop a deficit-slashing proposal from Gov. Jerry Brown that aims to save $23 million by ending reimbursements to animal shelters for the cost of keeping strays alive.

Brown wants to repeal parts of Hayden’s Law that require shelters to hold lost and stray animals for six days instead of three, and mandates the state to pay for such expenses as food and veterinary care.

The Hayden Bill, sponsored by former Sen. Tom Hayden, was passed into law in 1998.

In a video posted to YouTube, Hayden pleads with Brown to consider his own dog, Sutter.

The animal shelter cuts are part of Brown’s proposed $92.5 billion budget that would eliminate 50 mandates or reimbursable amendments that have been suspended for the last two years or more, said H.D. Palmer, deputy director of California’s Department of Finance. The savings would put a $728.8 million dent in a $9.2 billion deficit.

Thousands of pet owners and animal welfare groups across the country have lined up to fight the repeal, saying it would lead to countless deaths — not just canine and felines. The law requires shelters to hold rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pot-bellied pigs, birds, lizards, snakes, tortoises and turtles for three days. Without the mandate, they could be killed immediately.

“It would also degrade shelter operations, as well as morale and ultimately the character of shelter workers, by altering the mandated focus of animal control agencies from lifesaving back to the failed catch-and-kill orientation of the bad old days,” said Best Friends Animal Society co-founder Francis Battista.

The state’s legislative analyst said a 2008 review found that holding animals longer did not improve their chances for adoption; it just increased the number of animals people had to choose from.

But Los Angeles County supervisors disputed that finding. In a Feb. 6 letter to Brown, supervisors said more than 1,100 lost pets were returned to their owners after the third day last year.

Under Hayden’s Law, most shelters put lost or stray pets up for adoption after the third day, so if they had been euthanized after three days, those 1,100 pets would not have been reunited with their families.

“The cost issue is a bogus one,” said Hayden in a statement to CBSLA. “The budget formula incentivizes the killing but not adopting out.”

Palmer confirms this, but maintains the initial bill was presented with the argument there would be no cost to the state. Subsequently, he says, the Commission on State Mandates determined local governments were entitled to reimbursement of related costs.

“There is nothing that precludes a local government from having a longer hold period,” said Palmer. “It’s just that [under Brown’s proposal] the state would not reimburse the incremental costs incurred beyond the third day.”

Animal advocacy groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Best Friends are circulating petitions to block the budget cut.

“California is known for its progressive laws protecting animals and repealing this mandate would be a setback for animal welfare, public health, and local communities who have already realized benefits from the provisions in place,” said Jill Buckley, senior director of Community Initiatives for the ASPCA.

Brown’s office has yet to comment.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. mary jo geddes says:

    This is a horrible law, these animals deserve a life just like any other breathing creature. I do not know where all the money goes, but the government makes a ton just off the lottery . Also putting animals down sooner would put people out of work. This country is becoming so third world that it is pathetic to think we cannot even help animals that help other people.
    Plus you just have to ask people lend a hand to drop off bags of food and put time in for free. There is always a way to help animals and people for that matter.
    Gov Brown if you pass this law you will never ever get another vote from anyone

    1. Virginia A. Friz says:

      I agree with the above.

    2. Cat Lady says:

      Hayden’s Law is a good piece of animal protection law – REPELLING some of it key provisions, as this article covers, is the tragedy.

  2. Astonished says:

    Why doesn’t he just sign a law that says all seniors in government assisted living homes get their throats cut after 72 hours! It amounts to the same thing!

    Instead of cutting the salaries of that useless bunch of “lawmakers” we have, he cuts funding for education and those who can’t fight back!

    REAL GOOD MR. GOVERNOR! I guess it’s easier to rule over the ignorant than the intellegent! Oh, and Heaven forbid those ignornant people should want a pet!

  3. John says:

    What Mary Jo Geddes said!

  4. Mad as Hell says:

    This is exactly what happens when people like this keep getting elected to office, whether it be the Governor, our idiot Mayor, or the idiots that represent us in Sacramento and Washington that can’t balance a budget. Get out there and vote for some new blood, not the same old tired political bags of wind.
    Get rid of the social programs and free financial, medical and educational aid for all illegal immigrants.

  5. ss says:

    How about we repeal Gov. “Dream Act” Brown. The easiest way to make sure that there is not only funding for the animals, but for the state of Calif. as well, is to STOP all of our tax dollars from supporting illegal aliens with free health care, education and other social programs. It’s the biggest tragedy ever that innocent animals are killed for no reason in the animal shelters, while criminals, even the most violent, who are in “shelters” as in jail/prison, are housed for years and years at the taxpayers’ expense, and get 3 hots and a cot, cable tv, free medical, dental, even an education. The values of this world and this society are just backwards and sick, and so is that moron, Gov. “Dream Act” Brown.

  6. USC Trojan Girl says:

    Mr. Brown taking advantage of animals without a voice. Despicable human being. No need to call animal control anymore if we see a stray pet on the street because if we do call that animal will be killed as soon as it gets to the shelter. Pets will now have a longer life on the streets then in shelters…LOL. No wonder the rest of the world views Americans as idiots.

  7. disgusted says:

    lets not put the states budget problems (that humans have created) on the backs of poor animals. I don’t believe that animals should be “put to sleep” anyway, just because they need a home. All animals in shelters should be spayed or neutered and put up for adoption, no matter how long it takes. The aniamls could be cared for until adoption, if the state would quit wasting so much $$ on other needless programs. I really don’t know how a decent human being could put a dog/cat/puppy/kitten to sleep anyway, what a sick job.

  8. Holly's Mom says:

    I think that it’s time to cut the legislator’s salaries to cure the budget deficit.

  9. Cindy duck says:

    Heartwrenching

  10. Darryl says:

    We need to start a petition ASAP and send a message to our Governor. This is NOT THE WAY TO BUDGET OUR STATE. KILL THE ONES WHOM HAVE NO VOICE, THESE ANIMALS DID NOT CHOOSE TO BE WHERE THERE AT, US HUMANS CREATED THIS MESS! My friend lives out in the desert and he sees dead dogs a lot BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE DUMPING THERE UNWANTED DOGS OFF WITH NO WATER NO FOOD, AGAIN PEOPLE CREATE THIS MESS! AND THESE DOGS HAVE TO SUFFER! LET’S BE THERE VOICE SAVE A LIFE, THEY ARE MORE LOYAL THEN SOME PEOPLE ARE.!

    1. DC says:

      Amen! I couldn’t have said it better. I would like to hear more about rescue organizarions who are assisting with these animal drop offs.

  11. DC says:

    Our government is DISGUSTING!

    “Leaders” have no problem FIRST laying off more than half the teachers in San Diego and NOW killing innocent animals just to “save a penny”… BUT THEY CANT TAKE A PAY CUT THEMSELVES!!!!

    If you truly love your people, you will chose to not take a high salary or even a salary at all. If we are suffering, you should be suffering more. YOU ARE the face and voice of the people.

    SO SAD! When is the world going to stop being so selfish.

    My dogs are the only selfless things in this world and now the selfish, overpaid govenment wants to kill these animals. WOW!

  12. TT says:

    The legal puppies have no say!!!

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