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California budget cuts could mean faster euthanizing of strays in shelters


"Our wallet is empty, our bank is closed and our credit is dried up," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday of the painful budget cuts proposed for programs as diverse as education, healthcare, social services, state parks and prisons. One cut facing California hasn't received as much attention as, say, the proposed closures of 220 parks, reserves and beaches statewide -- but its effects, if enacted, could be even more painful. 

Among the programs on the line are government-funded animal shelters, and the governor's plan calls for a sharp decrease in the amount of time shelters are required to hold strays. The proposal would allow shelters to euthanize stray pets after only three days, down from six, the San Francisco Gate reports.

"Obviously, monies need to come from somewhere, but to do it on the backs of these animals is just really sad," Kiska Icard of the San Francisco SPCA told the Gate, adding that the move, if approved, would result in more euthanizations.

In 2004, Schwarzenegger made a similar proposal, saying cutting the minimum number of days shelters had to keep pets would save the state $14 million annually. But, USA Today wrote, the Governator quickly nixed the idea when it became clear that it wasn't sitting well with constituents.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Dogs at the North Central Animal Shelter, one of six shelters run by the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services. Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times

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Euthanizing these animals early will decrease their chances of finding a good home. This decision will only deter their chances.

Fascinating. Well I guess we'll see emptier shelters and less unwanted animals too choose from. So sad, but just like the poor under Arnold, our pockets are empty. We cannot afford to feed them, might as well not let them starve.

ADOPT...DON'T SHOP....We kill about 4 million animals and pet stores sell about 4 million pets...get pet stores to sell shelter animals and it's win/win....

Schwarzenegger repeatedly goes after animals, trying this in 2004, and again now, and also with last year's attempt to tax vet visits.

He really is the definition of the politician who only cares about those who have money or a vote. Well, we should show him that even if our animals can't fight back, we can!

I am so tired of threats. It's always been beating us over the head with the children, the children, in terms of the extortionists at LAUSD for our tax money. Now it's the animals.

This is a chance for animal resucers like myself to step up and help the community by taking these animals on and raising funds privately. If we love animals, we can do it independently of the government. For too long the gov't has been the fallback to do everything, and it's lazy and ineffective.

IFor everybody who cares about animals, step up. Give back. I trap, fix, release and feed the stray animals in my neighborhood. As a result, the population is stable, and it's my way of giving back to my community.

A little less whining and more doing will fix a lot of local problems very nicely, especially the problems of stray animals. So stop wringing your handkerchiefs and start helping.

E.F. Taylor

If CalWORKS kids are going to end up on the street, I should hope cats and dogs would get the same treatment.

it's really tragic that this is happening, unfortunately ms. taylor the population doesn't have any money to help out either...Our pockets are empty...and no matter how much we'd like to try we all can't.

many rescues are going bankrupt because the normal amount of donations are not coming in.

cutting shelter budgets should be the last course of action in my opinion. If these animals are alive, they deserve a chance. close down beaches, so what...cut spending in other ways....but don't make these live creature suffer, or be put to death...

The only good thing is that the law for mandatory spay and neutering has been passed. One step in the right direction.

Get the economy turned around, people will stop losing their homes, and stop having to turn in their animals...
it's a totally horrid situation from all sides.

What should be done is all the puppy mills that are getting busted nationwide, like 1 per week, should be fined and pay that money directly to shelters across the US... as well if you're convicted of animal cruelty, HUGE FINES and those fines sent to rescue groups or shelters....

E.F., if you are in fact a rescuer you know that private shelters and rescues are full to the brim right now. We get twenty or thirty calls from people looking to place animals for every call regarding adoption.

We take every cat and dog we can possibly find room for, keeping in mind that the very same government you are inexplicably defending could come in at any time, decide we are "too full," and shut us down or impound and kill animals you demand we save. IF you are a rescuer you know that L.A. Animal Services determines how many animals we can house at any time, not us.

The very notion of throwing this back on rescuers, as if we haven't been stepping up in this crisis is absolutely ludicrous. If in fact you do do TNR, then that's a very fine and admirable thing. But TNR is a handful of cats at a time, and the "R" stands for "return" which means releasing those cats back where they came from post-spay/neuter. You don't have to find a properly zoned facility, kennel help and volunteers, as well as the costs for food, rent and vet care for this, according to you, unlimited number of cats and dogs you seem to believe we can rescue, thus relieving poor defenseless government from the responsibility every civilized society says it has to shelter homeless animals.

Forcibly privatizing animal care and control onto volunteers is absurd, as is trying to cast the relentlessly anti-animal Schwarzenegger as a victim.

Lets cut the time criminals can just sit in prison on tax dollars before we can "euthanize" them! We can murder defenseless animals but I have to pay for murderers, rapists, pedophiles, drug dealers, etc. to sit in prison and enjoy television, exercise, conjugal visits and I don't even want to think of what else. Pathetic. Oh and just because people are losing their jobs animals should be killed. What an ignorant comment Kristi made!!! I for one am tired of seeing 20 CalWorks employees standing around watching one or two employees work! The economy is our own fault. Animals had nothing to do with it. They would do a better job than Arnold- of that I am sure!


While I wholeheartedly support the idea of "adopt, don't shop" I have serious doubts about finding a solution in allowing puppy stores to sell shelter animals. The inherent nature of commerce is "You give me the money, I give you the product, end of story."

Animal rescue can't operate that way. If I buy a car, drive irresponsibly, and crash it that's too bad for me. But if I buy a dog or cat and treat it negligently, fail to provide for his or her care, or abandon that cat or dog then a living being suffers.

Also, there are agreed-upon standards for how a new car should operate. If it doesn't perform perfectly it's defective. But a brand new dog or cat is a living individual and needs care, understanding and training. Even at rescues we see people who expect a to adopt a dog who is perfectly house-trained on day one, who never barks, and who we will guarantee gets along with every other dog or cat the animal meets. We know this is unrealistic for any living creature and we know this is likely not going to be a good, understanding home for this animal. We aren't a store.

But how can a store demand that a customer be a responsible owner of a "product" the store sells? In fact, if a store tried to do that it could open itself up to charges of discrimination, because in a commerce model everybody's money is equal. But in rescue there are good potential homes and bad potential homes. If we operate on a commerce model, a lot of our animals are going to lose.

Selling shelter animals is a media-friendly idea. But I, and many others, have severe doubts. There have already been allegations that the famous Melrose store that adopted this model is not caring for the dogs properly.

Commerce is not designed to be labor-intensive. But rescue, and having a dog or cat IS labor-intensive. You don't buy groceries because you love them, but you should get a pet for NO other reason.

I agree with the comments made about puppy mills and pet shops. Stronger laws need to be enforced on puppy mills. Those animals should go to pet shops as should strays. Imposing a law to hold them for 3 days is ridiculous. It's basically for appearances because any adoption takes longer then that at the best of times. It's incredibly appalling that otherwise intelligent people have zero smarts or compassion when it comes to issues of animal control and/or rights. It comes down to education and action. This is a problem with a solution, and a fairly obvious one at that-which doesn't include closing shelter doors or killing innocent, sweet little animals that find themselves homeless due in large part to ignorant, cruel, irresponsible people.

Dawn from comment made June 3rd -- In her words, not mine:
"ADOPT...DON'T SHOP....We kill about 4 million animals and pet stores sell about 4 million pets...get pet stores to sell shelter animals and it's win/win...."

You are awesome, Dawn!!

We should start a petition and send it to Gov. Arnold!

To Kristi: The cats and dogs you believe should end up on the streets won't have that luxury -- they'll be dead instead..... murdered (misleadingly known as "euthanized") at the state's, i.e., your and my, expense.

Has anyone even bothered to calculate the cost of killing so many more animals vs. the cost of allowing them to live?

Why does he have to rile us up again? He knows California is full of animal lovers trying to work towards no-kill, not more-kill. He is looking in the wrong places to save money!! What we already do to these sentient beings is evil enough and he wants to increase the inhumanity? SHAMEFUL! Please voice your opposition by calling Governor Schwarzenegger at 916-445-2841. His office seems to appreciate hearing our opinions. Thank you.

It costs more to "euthanize" the animal than it does to keep it alive for 3 days. At least give people a chance to find their lost pets. This won't solve the budget crisis.

Gee, think of the money the state could save if they did away with shelters completely?! Government-subsidized animal rescue is NOT an endeavor that succeeds when managed by bottom-line bean counters. You either do it for its intended purpose, or you don't. Chipping away at the already-struggling L.A. City Shelter system is like pulling planks from the keel of your lifeboat. I suggest that politicians spend a day or two euthanizing day-three lost pets and then be forced to face the heart-broken owners. Is this any way to run a state?

They are killing lost pets. Why can't reporters just speak the truth. Euthanizing? These animals are not being put out of misery, they are perfectly healthy lost animals. We would appreciate if our reporters could please use more accurate language and stop whitewashing. Animals belonging to people are being killed. They are not vagabonds born and living on the street... they are people's pets.

Another perspective: Whatever the law is, shelters are making these choices. Consider the shelter that is now killing at 6 days and 1 hour and takes this "opportunity" to speed up that process. While I certainly do not support the governer's proposal, methinks some of these shelters are once again diverting the attention from their own bad practices to the circumstances that "force" them to pursue those actions.

The person who needs to see these comments is sitting in the Governor's office!

Please e-mail Gov. Schwarzenneger today!


Thank you.

There would be no need for so many animals to die at shelter's if laws were introduced to spay and neuter pets. These beautiful animals are living and breathing just as we do and don't deserve to be put to death in gas chambers, or by injections, etc. Please stop this barbaric practice, and stand up to be a voice for change! We're a civilized nation that should be resorting to solving the problem instead of murdering them!

Pets get DEATH after 3 days
But Scum Bags on Death Row will be taken care of;
3 meals a day, a warm place to sleep..
For years & tax payers gets the Bill,
when A Tax payers Pet gets DEATH for leaving the yard,or doesn't have A home, This can't happen...

People stop paying top dollar thinking your picking the perfect pet. Just once go to A shelter and let one pick you, It will be priceless.... That dog or cat will always remember you saved its life, My Puppy is now 16yrs he might have been 6weeks when someone droped him off,
next to a freeway..
The Best Dog . I would give my life for him,

Thats completly cule to even think about giving these animals 3 days before being euthanized. There are so many no kill rescues out there and countless families who foster animals to help prevent animal euthanizing. These rescues and foster families are already strained by animals not being spayed/neutered. Its heartbreaking to think that these poor helpless animals would be given such a small chance to find their family again or even a chance to find a new family. To some, it might just be an animal, but to a lot of others, these animals are a friend, family member, or even a companion.

Both of my animals were rescue animals, rescue animals are the best. Every morning I wake up my cat and my foster animals do something cute to make me smile. I believe its their way of thanking me for saving them. They all have such great personalities. Its the best feeling in the world when you foster an animal from a few days old all the way to their adoption day. I couldn't imagine not having them in my life.

It costs more to euthanize an animal than it does to feed them for 6 days (the current time an animal has at a government funded shelter). I recently had to put my 16 year old cat to sleep. She had cancer and it cost me over $100 to put her to sleep(office visit not included). you can't tell me it costs that much to keep an animal alive at a shelter for 6 days. Either way, more people could give up their bathroom or laundry room for a week or a few weeks for an older animal or litter of kittens or puppies. Most of the time it is fostering for an animal that is simply waiting to get spayed or neutered before she/he is ready to find a home. Sure its a little work cleaning up after the animal. Most rescues are more than happy to help out if not give people supplies to foster these animals.

I went to New Mexico last year to visit a friend. In one of the malls there, they had an adoption site set up with rescue animals. I thought that was a great idea. I'm sure that the mall gave a reduced rate to the no kill shelter that had the space. As you all know a lot of stores have gone under due to the bad economy. Unfortunatly, many people have lost their job, their home and sadly had to give up their pets. I would much rather have local state parks shut down or places like beaches, state parks and those sort of places closed on certain days.That would save a lot of money. Not to mention we could survive a year or two without major hwy or freeway construction. Why not spend this money on saving lives?

I think that it is truly heartbreaking that some shelters euthanize animals at all, but to add a ticking clock to how long they can stay until euthanization which has just been reduced to 72 hours seems even more criminal --if you consider how long it often takes to find a missing pet!
I'm sure the governor has staff and doesn't take care of his own pets, so he can't relate.
In addition to this, this eliminating these euthanization laws would be one of those social services that might benefit society; similar assisting public schools reflects onto the teachers and students; help to the police and firefighters; help community-- better pet owners. Starting small, saving small guys rather that big pockets-- or spending money on drug dealers and animal abuser in the prisons mentioned above and their luxeries, and their exercise grounds in prisons etc!

Seriously none of you are mentioning breeders? Where is your influx coming from? Stop asking for money to take in unwanted animals, most of which come from breeding. Attack them, call your legislature about them--WE HAVE NO MONEY!! A 20% pay cut to elected officials wouldn't come close to the money we need. Think outside the box--there's no money.

the budget cuts are due to a lack of taxation on CORPORATIONS, ARNY has kept a hands off approach to taxing the massive corporations in california that make money hand over fist..let's face it arny is a very wealthy man, has a number of holding i image in many of the corporations, not to mention contributions to elect (if ever there was a graft loophole this has to be it) and he isn't alone on this. WE MUST HAVE PUBLIC
Financing ONLY, OR WE WILL CONTINUE TO GO DOWNHILL. we cannot get a hold of democracy without public financing our elections, and at least one other viable party from which to choose

Lindsay Animal Shelter is closing their doors. And they are going to euthanize every animal they have, which at last count was 30 dog and a number of cats.

Please help save the innocent.

Lindsay Animal Shelter, in Lindsay CA.

The animals do not deserve this. Stop the breeders. Everyone wanting a pet should adopt. There are so many wealthy people in California. Why don't they all pitch in and help the shelters stay open. I agree with some other posts about criminals sitting in jail watching tv and exercising and enjoying themselves. Execute all these criminals. What about all those unwanted children and people having so many kids they cannot afford them. Who pays for that? How on earth did Arnold Schwarzenegger get elected anyway? If it was mandatory not to breed animals and mandatory to spay and neuter, there would not be so many animals; therefore, no reason to euthanize. IF EVERY STRANGER WAS KIND TO AN ANIMAL IN NEED, THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE.

Animals should not be euthanized after a certain amount of time because no one adopted them. They should be kept in the humane society until they are adoptd or died from old age.

minimize private breeding in each state to certain people have to get a licence and inspection and maximun # animals to breed, and more shelter dogs can be sold in pet stores> get more control of the private breeding of puppy mills

Not only does this cut the adoption chances, it doesn't allow time for owners to find their lost pets. By the time our Humane Society lists an animal online they are putting it down. We went down to check if one such animal was our lost pet and they had already euthanized him! If they are going to cut the time allowed they should limit the area a facility is allowed to cover and civilians should not be allowed to trap in their neighborhoods!


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