State mandatory spay-neuter bill appears dead
By JAMES BURGER, Californian staff writer
e-mail: jburger@... | Thursday, Jun 19 2008 9:33 AM
Last Updated: Thursday, Jun 19 2008 10:09 AM
For all intents and purposes, a statewide mandatory spay-neuter bill died this week.
Its proposed language would have made it illegal to have an unsterilized animal without a permit in California.
The bill, which passed the California Assembly in 2007, was bottlenecked in a Senate committee until earlier this week, according to a letter posted by AB 1634 organizer Judie Mancuso on the California Healthy Pets Act Web site Wednesday.
At that time, the letter states, Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod proposed amendments to the bill that completely removed mandatory spay-neuter provisions.
The new language was made public Thursday morning.
“Senator Negrete McLeod chairs the Senate Local Government Committee where AB 1634 has been held since mid-2007. The senator presented amendments that remove all the current language of the bill and replace it with new language her office developed,” Mancuso wrote.
The bill’s author, Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, agreed to the changes.
Text of the bill, which is no longer called the California Healthy Pets Act, has been posted on a state legislative information Web site and scheduled for a hearing before Negrete McLeod’s committee on June 25.
It swaps mandatory spay-neuter rules for an increase in fines on the owners of dogs whose animals are repeatedly impounded by animal control officials.
Fines on dog owners would be $50 for a first impoundment (up from $35), $100 for the second occurrence (up from $50), and would make spay-neuter mandatory on a third impound.
Cat owners would face a $50 fine on a first impoundment and spay-neuter on a second impoundment.
“I know many of you will not be happy with this proposal, and I am personally deeply disappointed that AB 1634 has been rewritten by Senator Negrete McLeod,” Mancuso wrote.
Kern County Animal Control chief Denise Haynes said the new legislation will have little to no impact on Kern County.
Most of the time, there are not repeat impounds of animals.
Most animals impounded by Kern County Animal Control — two-thirds in 2007 — are euthanized.
The 18,669 animals euthanized in Kern County in 2007 prompted Kern County supervisors to consider local mandatory spay-neuter laws. Last week they announced they did not support the idea.
“The third impound spay and neuter is not going to have an impact on the numbers. We don’t get a lot of dogs three times. It would be great if we could (spay or neuter) the first time a dog comes in here,” Haynes said.
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