Senate panel keeps animal shelter law alive, for now
A Senate budget panel on Wednesday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to repeal provisions of California's animal shelter law.
Animal activists have been campaigning for months to preserve the mandate, which lengthened the amount of time shelters must hold stray and abandoned pets before euthanizing them.
The Senate subcommittee on resources, environmental protection and transportation voted 3-0 to reject a bill that included a larger list of mandates Brown wants to eliminate, including the shelter law, which has been suspended since 2009. An Assembly subcommittee took a similar action last month.
The governor has said that shortening the hold period from six days to three would save the state tens of millions of dollars.
While the matter is far from settled -- it must go through more budget hearings -- animal activists hailed the vote as a victory and pledged to keep up the pressure on lawmakers and the Brown administration.
"The budget committee did the right thing, and animal lovers made a huge difference through their calls, faxes and emails to key state senators," said Christi Metropole, executive director of the Stray Cat Alliance. "We plan to keep up the momentum to prevent repeal of any portion of the Hayden Law protecting California's shelter animals."
In their recommendations, Senate staffers urged committee members to reject the governor's proposal, noting ongoing discussions between animal activists and lawmakers to make the law more cost effective.
The administration has cited a 2008 report from the Legislative Analyst's Office that found "no evidence" that longer holding periods had resulted in increased adoptions, the intent of the law. Brown's office has also said that the state can no longer afford the costs at a time when it is slashing social services to balance the budget.
-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: A pit bull waits for adoption at the Alameda County Animal Shelter in Oakland. Credit: Los Angeles Times