Activist Tom Hayden asks Gov. Jerry Brown to consider his dog (Video)
The "Chicago Seven" activist who stormed the 1968 Democratic National Convention and later married Jane Fonda has asked the California governor to consider his own dog, Sutter, before repealing the state law that lengthened the amount of time animal shelters must hold stray and abandoned pets before euthanizing them.
In an online video posted on YouTube, Hayden explains that as a state senator he wrote the legislation in 1998 to make euthanization a last resort and give animal owners a chance to recover their pets. The mandate, which has been suspended since 2009, is one of roughly 30 that Brown wants to eliminate to save money in the next fiscal year.
"Governor, I see you're a dog owner. I can tell from the publicity that you love that dog, your wife loves that dog," Hayden says in the video. "So stop and think: Thousands of dogs and cats are put to death needlessly every year. It's not a budget issue.... It is a humane issue. And I urge you to look at your dog before you allow this bill that protects animals to die."
Since Brown's inauguration last year, Sutter has been a bona fide celebrity -- at least by Sacramento standards. After Sutter attracted front-page headlines and Capitol admirers, the governor's office created an official website and Facebook page for the first dog. An unofficial Twitter account has thousands of followers.
Brown himself has used the canine as a political prop, taking him into budget negotiations with dog-loving Republicans and offering him to the state GOP as his surrogate to debate the anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.
According to Brown's Department of Finance, the governor wants to repeal the shelter mandate "because it is more appropriate to allow local governments to determine how long to care for certain animals."
Asked for a response, Brown's press office sent the following: "Sutter could not be reached for comment."
--Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: Sutter on a walk with the Browns last year. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times