The California Legislature is once again attempting to control pet overpopulation through proposed bill SB 250 “Pet Responsibility Act” which outlines how owners must sterilize their cats/dogs. The bill also imposes a penalty for violating these sterilization guidelines except in specified circumstances. Under SB 250, if certain conditions occur, pet owners can apply for a license to have pets that are not sterilized or “unaltered.”
The California public does not completely accept this bill because of its controversial nature to mandate these necessary licenses. There are also some groups who believe this bill will actually harm the pet population in California. Groups such as Concerned Dog Owners of California and the American Kennel Club refer to SB 250 as “The Pet Persecution Act.” They feel that if the legislature were to pass this bill, many people would not be able to keep their pets due to the increased costs that SB 250 imposes. Such costs include the neutering/spaying of pets and heavy fines on owners if their pets are not neutered. These groups even go onto say that this bill would actually increase the amount of pets killed stating that this type of punitive legislation is destined to fail because: “studies show the primary reasons people do not sterilize their pets are cost and lack of access to spay/neuter services. The same is true for licensing. The higher the cost the lower the rate of compliance and as a result, lower-income households with animals, those who are unaware of these laws, and truly irresponsible people will not comply in significant numbers.”
The California Department of Finance also opposes SB 250 because it will increase the costs of all existing state mandated programs regulating pet sterilization. The Department of Finance states that “given the current economic climate, requiring the owners of dogs and cats to pay for sterilization procedures would result in more animals being abandoned or surrendered because of the owners’ inability to finance the sterilization procedure and pay additional fines.”
The California Legislature amended SB 250 on August 31, 2009, but has not yet passed the bill. In view of all those who are opposed to the bill, there is a legitimate question as to whether SB 250 will actually help control the pet population in California or if it will end up doing more harm than good.
For more information on SB 250, visit http://www.yesonsb250.com/sb250-home.php
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, spay/neuter Tagged: | American Kennel Club, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, california, Concerned Dog Owners of California, neuter, Pet Responsibility Act, pet sterilization, pets, SB 250, spay, spay-neuter ethics