Gov. Jerry Brown wants to gut a law that gives California pet owners nearly a week to claim their lost animals from shelters, and Assemblyman Cameron Smyth isn’t amused.
Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, joined other lawmakers and numerous animal rights organizations at a lunchtime rally Tuesday in Sacramento to protest Brown’s plan to eliminate key provisions of the 1998 “Hayden Law,” named for its author, former Democratic Sen. Tom Hayden.
The law, SB 1785, requires shelters to keep pets up to six days – four, if they’re open extended hours – and it provides funding for them to do it.
Without SB 1785, state law would allow shelters to euthanize lost pets after just 72 hours. Shelters could still opt to hold animals longer, but they wouldn’t receive state funding for the extra days.
Brown expects to save $23 million by shortening the time period – and by eliminating funding for lost-and-found postings and veterinary care for sick animals. He’d also rule out funding for animals other than dogs and cats, such as birds, reptiles, hamsters and other pets, which SB 1785 treats as equals.
Photo credit: Sutter's Friends
Curiously, however, SB 1785 hasn’t been in effect since 2009 when former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suspended it in a budget-balancing maneuver. The state hasn’t paid for the programs in SB 1785 since that time.
What Brown’s elimination of the language would do is take it off the books so it wouldn’t automatically take effect in rosier economic times.
“The repeal of Hayden’s Law will not save one dime in California’s budget,” said Smyth, who spoke at Tuesday’s rally. “It should remain in place as a viable solution for shelters once the economy turns around.”
Hayden released a new video, which can be seen above, urging Brown to reconsider.