Photo courtesy of Lauren Magwood Gonzales.
SACRAMENTO – California Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, representing the 21st Senate District, announced Tuesday the Senate Committee on Agriculture unanimously approved Senate Bill 202 (SB 202), the Doggy Donor Bill. This measure provides more flexibility to the rules on animal blood donation, allowing for more loving and humane treatment of animal blood donors.
“California faces a shortage of animal blood products and we have an opportunity today to ensure a more robust supply of blood without housing more animals in traditional animal blood donations facilities,” said Wilk. “Human blood donors go home to their families after donating; animal donors should be treated the same way. California is woefully behind the rest of the nation on this matter, which is why I introduced the Doggy Donor Bill.”
Ambiguity in existing law has led to a relatively limited regulatory scheme for animal blood banks – leading the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) only to approve commercial licensure for closed-colony banks, which house dogs and cats for the specific purpose of taking their blood. Forty-nine other states already allow for flexibility in this matter, and this bill will bring California in line with the rest of nation.
Animal blood banks serve an important role to California’s veterinary medical community, but have lacked in supply in recent years – leading to a shortage in blood. Opening up the market to community-based blood banks – which allow private pet owners to volunteer their animals for donation – would greatly help to curb this shortage and keep pets around the state healthy and happy.
“My heart goes out to the families who have had an animal in need of blood when none was available. With the Doggy Donor Bill, the supply of available blood will increase, it will continue to be done in a safe and regulated environment, AND our donor animals will get to go home to their own loving human families at the end of the day,” concluded Wilk.
SB 202 is sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation and has received support from veterinarians and others professionals in the animal community around the state.
Dr. Karen Halligan, the Chief veterinary officer for the Lucy Pet Foundation, former board member of the American Red Cross and current board member of Social Compassion in Legislation testified in support of the SB 202 pointing out the critical need to expand options for blood supplies.
“California is the only state in the nation that does not allow community based blood banks. There are only two companies in California that provide lifesaving blood for cats and dogs. Pets need blood immediately in situations like being hit by a car, eating rat poison and autoimmune disease,” testified Dr. Halligan. “It’s time to open the market and alleviate the blood shortage.”
This bill has been double referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where it will be heard later this month.
Senator Wilk represents the 21st Senate District which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Victor Valleys.