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Cats, dogs and farm animals stand to benefit from California lawmakers' new bills

March 10, 2009 |  5:04 pm

Cats and dogs like these stand to benefit from new bills introduced by California state lawmakers Following last year's passage of Proposition 2, state lawmakers are pushing other bills that could have a big effect on California animals -- farm or otherwise. 

One such bill, introduced by state Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter), would outlaw the common procedure of docking dairy cows' tails except "during an individual treatment, emergency or operation, if the treatment or operation is performed by a veterinarian for veterinary purposes" with proper anesthesia. 

Another new bill, introduced by Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), would make animal hit-and-run a crime, punishable with fines and possible jail time.  The bill would require a driver who's hit an animal both to stop and try to help it, and to notify either the owner or animal control.  Our colleagues Eric Bailey and Patrick McGreevy report:

The assemblyman said he wrote the bill out of respect for the central role pets can play in family life, noting that he got the idea from a constituent who lost a beloved family dog.

He said he hopes to "start a dialogue" and set a precedent, alerting drivers that they bear responsibility for aiding an animal they've hit.

New York has a similar law, as do Germany and Singapore.

Eng finds it troubling that California makes it a misdemeanor to flee an accident involving property loss -- a dented fender, a crushed mailbox, a crumpled planter box -- but there is no law against a hit-and-run involving a pet.

"You can wantonly hit an animal and leave and face no consequences," Eng said. "An inanimate object has more rights."

Other bills introduced include one that would crack down on dogfighting, one that would make pet adoption tax-deductible, and another that would impose curbs on puppy mills.  Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) has proposed, in legislation that would piggyback Prop. 2, that all eggs imported into California from out of state be from cage-free hens.

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Eli/Your Scene

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