Using the Political Process to Reform Animal Control

19 Jan

SAVE THE DATE: The UCLA Animal Law Program is pleased to announce that on March 13, 2012 it will be hosting a presentation by Nathan Winograd titled “Using the Political Process to Reform Animal Control.” Given the recently announced proposed repeal of provisions of the Hayden Law, California’s laws that govern our shelters, the timing of Nathan’s visit could not be better. To learn more about the history of Hayden, please read Nathan’s recent blog post “California Shelter Animals Under Attack.”

What is at risk in the proposed repeal? Permanent loss of the requirement to provide prompt and necessary veterinary care. Permanent loss of the requirement to hold animals for an extended period to increase opportunites for redemption and adoption. Permanent loss of the requirement to post lost and found lists. And, among other things, permanent loss of the requirement to provide care for animals other than cats and dogs, such as rabbits, hamsters, and other animals commonly kept as pets.

A rationale that has been offered for the Governor’s proposed repeal is that there has been a paradigm shift in our shelters, and that the provisions are no longer needed because shelters will comply with the provisions on their own. Our take on this is that, even if many shelters have adopted Hayden Law principles, many have not. Just as we retain laws against murder even though few people commit murder, we need to retain the Hayden Law even if it is a minority of shelters that ignore principles of basic decency toward animals. But, as those who have attended our programs on issues impacting companion animals know and have reported, it is not possible to contend with any credibility that there has been a complete paradigm shift in animal sheltering in California. Animals continue to die in cages from untreated illness. Basic acts of kindness, such as providing blankets to animals in inclimate weather (when many blankets have been donated), have been deliberately denied.

The Hayden provisions found to be “reimbursable state mandates” have been suspended since Schwarzenegger enacted his 2009 budget. There is, however, a distinct difference between limited suspension and repeal. With a repeal, the provisions will be completely removed from our laws, thereby forever denying shelter animals the chance to share in the future economic recovery of our state.

If you would like to contact Governor Brown to express your opposition to the proposed repeal, please use any of the following means of contacting him. In articulating your opposition, remember the words of Mahatma Ghandi: “Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected” — in other words, be respectful in expressing your opposition and let your message be clear and focused on what is at stake for the animals.

1 Comment

Posted by on January 19, 2012 in advocacy, California, companion animals, shelter law


One response to “Using the Political Process to Reform Animal Control

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