Thursday, February 2, 2012

California: Governor Brown Tries to Repeal Animal Protection Law

California’s Hayden Law was passed 1998. This much-needed law gave animals in California’s pounds certain protections they desperately needed, such as assuring the animals get prompt and proper veterinary care, requiring that they be held for a longer amount of time, to give their guardians time to find them in the case of lost animals, and to give animals relinquished by their guardians time to be adopted (as opposed to being immediately killed, as had been allowed before the law), and not allowing animals to be killed if a qualified rescue wanted to take them. It also extended protections to animals other than dogs and cats, such as rabbits, hamsters, and others.

In 2004, then Governor Schwarzenegger attempted to repeal the law, but was besieged with phone calls, letters, and a sizeable presence of protesters, some accompanied by their rescued dogs, descending on the capitol steps, and he relented.

Sadly, some provisions of this law were suspended in 2009 due to the budget crisis. Provisions that are considered “reimbursable state mandates,” those which are required to be funded by the state, are currently suspended. Those include the requirement to provide prompt and necessary veterinary care; the requirement to hold animals for an extended period to increase the opportunity for redemption and adoption; the requirement to post lost and found lists; the requirement to provide care for animals other than cats and dogs, such as rabbits, hamsters, and other animals commonly kept as pets.

That these provisions have been suspended is in itself a tragedy for the animals, but a suspension is temporary, and allows for the provisions to be reinstated when the state is in better shape financially. However, Governor Brown is now proposing to repeal these provisions permanently.

Given the governor’s statements in his recent state of the state address that California is “on the mend” and “coming back,” one would think that, rather than attempting to repeal these provisions permanently, he would be looking forward to a time in the near future when they could be reinstated. So why in the world would he want to repeal these provisions altogether? It simply makes no sense.

The governor claims this repeal is necessary to save money, and yet he has no problem pushing for construction of a high speed rail system that is estimated to cost up to a hundred billion dollars. By the time the high speed rail system is finished, how many thousands of animals will Brown have condemned to death because they lacked the protections of the Hayden Law, the cost of which is a fraction of that of the high speed rail. Shouldn't the governor's priority be saving lives before constructing trains?

Please write, email, fax, and/or call the governor and urge him not to repeal these provisions. And also write to your state senator and assembly member, and ask them not to allow this to happen.

Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
Email through his website at

You can watch a video with Tom Hayden, the author of the bill, in which he urges Governor Brown not to repeal any of the provisions of the law.

If you are on Facebook, please visit and "like" Sutter’s Friends, a group dedicated specifically to seeing that the law is preserved.

There are also several petitions you can sign (however, I highly recommend you don’t think that signing a petition is enough. Writing to the governor and your representatives is crucial, as it is much more effective).

Stray Cat Alliance Petition Petition

Dog Park Media Petition