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Spay Bill passed by three votes

CALIFORNIA, USA: ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ was the reaction from cat and dog enthusiasts and thousands of pet owners in California last week after Members of the California State Assembly voted 41-38 – a margin of just three votes - to outlaw the existence of mixed breed and cats and dogs in the Golden State.

As reported previously in OUR CATS, Assembly Bill 1634, euphemistically called the California Healthy Pets Act, authored by Los Angeles Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, will allow only selected purebred dogs and cats to breed, if their owners pay for a special licence to allow them to do so. Pet owners who don’t sterilise their mixed breed pets by four months of age will face a $500 fine and possible criminal penalties.

‘This crazy measure will end up costing families heartache and taxpayers billions,’ said Bill Hemby, Chairman of PetPAC, an organisation dedicated to the rights of pets and owners. ‘California will be the poster child for an invasive and overreaching government mandate that is inhumane and impossible to fund, administer or enforce.’

AB 1634 will blanket all 58 counties in California with an expensive forced spay/neuter law that not all animal shelters want – or need. According to the State of California, dog impounds have fallen 86% over the last 30 years. Puppies and kittens are already being transferred between counties to alleviate a shortage of adoptable pets: San Francisco and Marin Counties need to bring pets in from other areas to be adopted locally. In San Diego County – which has no mandatory spay/neuter law – only one adoptable animal was euthanised in 2004-05.

Not only family pets, but police dogs, search and rescue dogs, service dogs for the blind and disabled, and working stock dogs serving California’s $6 billion livestock industry will be decimated under AB 1634.

‘The methods proposed by AB 1634 will lead to unintended consequences that will have a serious negative effect on animal health, the public, and the economy,’ wrote 125 licensed veterinarians in opposition to the measure. ‘AB 1634 may actually lead to an increase in the number of animals impounded and euthanised.’

Many breeders and dog owners say the bill adds unneeded bureaucracy, and that collected fees would go toward maintaining the program’s bureaucratic infrastructure. Several dog and cat enthusiasts have complained that the plan to issue licences to allow them not to spay their animals will not only cost them dear in fees, but are also an infringement of their civil liberties.
The bill now moves on to the State Senate for consideration ‘in due course’ – possibly later this month.

Whilst organisations such as the FCA, ICA as well as PetPAC have their own campaigns to oppose the Bill, a new campaign for all pet owners – not just residents of California or indeed America - has been launched. The Biscuit Campaign will send a ‘dog biscuit’ bearing a message opposing AB1634 to the State Assembly for every one dollar donation it receives.

*Websites:
The Biscuit Campaign: http://www.k9snaturally.com/stopab1634.htm
PetPac: http://www.petpac.net/