A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Feb 9, 2012

When Was the Last Time I Asked the Government to do Nothing?

courtesy Google images
In 1999, an animal shelter mandate known as the “Hayden Bill” was enacted, among other things, to increase holding periods for stray cats and dogs in shelters, create behavior assessments for cats appearing to be feral, and to extend these holding periods to pocket pets as well. In exchange for performing these additional “mandates”, the state was required to reimburse cities and counties for these extra costs.

Against the landscape of a poor economy, these mandates have been suspended as a cost savings measure since 2009. Now, in his FY 2012-13 Budget, Governor Jerry Brown has proposed to permanently repeal them. Many of you have been subjected to hysterical calls for action and misinformed assertions by the media and concerned citizens that animals will be euthanized en masse upon repeal of these sections of the law. I am sure most of you didn’t know that California shelters have been struggling to operate without being reimbursed for these suspended mandates for the past few years.

Your spcaLA, and its president, who also serves as the legislative chair of the State Humane Association of California (SHAC), have been working closely with Sacramento to protect the remaining language in the law and to ensure that minimum holding periods be added back into the bill text. California Animal Directors Association (CACDA) has also been part of these negotiations. SHAC represents the collective voice of California’s humane societies and societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCAs), while CACDA represents the municipal shelters in California

That said. I strongly urge that the governor maintain the status quo and not permanently repeal these mandates. I remain confident that our economy will eventually improve and enable these protections for our pets to revive as well. 

The stewardship of our stray, abused and unwanted pets should be a priority in this state – the first to be funded and the last to be cut. Sadly that is not the case.

Please call ((916) 445-2841) and/or email our governor and tell him that we are sure he will turn California’s economy around and to not repeal these mandates.

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