Lawmakers Finish Work On Slew Of Animal Welfare Bills

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Among the hundreds of bills lawmakers are considering this week are a half-dozen that deal with animals. 

As Capital Public Radio's Steve Shadley reports some of the bills may have been prompted by a voter approved ballot measure on the treatment of farm animals...
While lawmakers are scrambling to get their work done inside the capitol, outside a group of animal lovers is promoting the adoption of cats and dogs from local shelters. Kay Gramm is a shelter volunteer.  She’s hoping to find a good

home for a well-behaved dog...wearing a t-shirt that reads “Adopt Me”...
Gramm “Her name is Katinka. She’s a one year old Staffordshire Terrier. She’s a very nice girl. She’s very playful. And, she thinks she’s a lab because she loves the water (laughs)  
Gramm is urging lawmakers to pass a resolution encouraging more people to get their pets from shelters.  

There are a slew of animal related bills right now. 

Jennifer Fearing is with the Humane Society of the United States.  She can’t remember a time when there were so many bills about animal welfare...
Fearing “It has a lot to do with voters passing Proposition Two last November. 
It showed legislators on both sides of the aisle that animal protection issues including animals raised for food...are a serious concern to people in California even during an economic crisis...”
Prop two requires farmers to give egg laying hens, veal calves and pigs more room by 2015.   Democratic Assemblymember Pedro Nava agrees that has raised awareness. He’s written three animal protection measures this session---

including one that would ban people who’ve been convicted of animal abuse from ever owning a pet again...
Nava “When I was a deputy D-A in Fresno County I was horribly offended and affected by an animal abuse case where a puppy was set on fire.    I also think that in talking with psychologists and law enforcement people who engage in animal abuse are only steps away from committing abuse against human beings...”
Another of Nava’s bills would increase criminal penalties for anyone who attends a dog fight. Nava’s third measure would step-up regulation of so-called “Puppy Mills.”  

The bill would make it illegal for breeders to have more than 50 animals at one time.  

Bill Hemby is chairman of “PetPac”—a group that’s fighting the puppy mill legislation. He says good breeders could be unfairly targeted by law enforcement...
Hemby:    "You have to oppose bills that run rough shod over your constitutional rights and your rights to privacy. You have to protect those who are innocent. And, we have no compassion for anyone who mistreats animals...”
Another bill headed to the governor’s desk by democratic Assemblymember Ted Lieu would ban the sale of animals on roadsides or parking lots.

Lawmakers also killed a contentious bill this week that would have made it mandatory for dog and cat owners to have their animals spayed or neutered. 
Meantime, animal rights groups are still sore over last month’s state budget agreement because it reduces the time from six days to three days...that dogs, cats and other animals can stay at shelters before they’re euthanized.