California State Animal Shelter Association Opposes Setting a Bar for Humane Breeding!
Business & Professions Committee Receives Opposition Letter to Our AB 702 Pet Breeder Humane Care Act
SCIL’S rebuttal below, scroll down past graphic. I have copied and pasted their letter paragraph by paragraph as to not take any of their comments out of context, and have our responses right underneath.
As a membership organization representing a majority of the state’s public and private shelters, we have accurate data on what is occurring throughout the state, and this bill misses the mark.
If CalAnimals has data they need to share it. Because we have no idea what they are alluding to in their first paragraph. 2019 and 2020 shelter data we have personally seen has dogs and cats still being euthanized in large numbers.
AB 702 requires the development and implementation of a new public shelter program. With most agencies reporting that breeding isn’t an issue in their City/County, the revenue from this mandated program is feared to be grossly insufficient to offset the costs. In addition, with no penalty provision, the bill lacks any ability for public animal control agencies to actually enforce. The most significant action permitted in the bill’s language is to revoke a permit.
Our friends in the rescue, shelter, and veterinarian communities have shared stories about sick puppies requiring thousands of dollars of veterinary care due to parvo or other diseases due to poor breeding practices. In the worst cases euthanasia is required, as reported by veterinarians in a recent story in the OC Register and as reported on CBS and KTLA to share just a few. This bill sets a standard that requires veterinary care and other minimum standards.
The bill leaves the cost of the breeding permit up to the local jurisdiction (city or county), allowing for them to recoup administrative costs by adjusting that price accordingly. The only way revenue from the permit program is “grossly insufficient” is if the local jurisdiction chooses to not price the permit appropriately.
We recognize that the current penalty in the bill was a starting place and can be changed. As the process goes, we are working with the Business and Professions Committee staff and will further those discussions with Assembly Appropriations Committee staff to amend the bill to give administering jurisdictions the ability to set the monetary penalties for violating the law.
Fundamentally, we see this bill as unnecessary and misdirected. Speaking to the sponsors, we understand the intent is to stop the unnecessary over breeding of puppies in California, and their subsequent demise in animal shelters. Though this may have been a valiant effort 10 years ago, this bill is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist today. Overall, there is a shortage of adoptable puppies in CA. A single puppy can get nearly 500 community inquiries on a shelter’s website. This supply and demand issue is causing greater concern related to consumer protections.
For CalAnimals to imply there is no euthanasia in California shelters is disingenuous at best. Yes, SCIL is always striving to reduce and eliminate euthanasia in shelters. The main intent of the bill is to require a minimum standard of care for animals that are being bred. While there may have been a dip in dogs and cats in our state’s shelters due to the spike in demand for companion animals during Covid-19 Stay-at-Home orders, and the fact that many shelters were not taking in stray or owner relinquished animals for most of the year due to closures, this so-called dip has ran its course. A recent CBS story covers the anxiety pets and families are already experiencing in preparation for going back to work, and another ABC story speaks to the rise already happening.
Luckily, California is already in a position to fight puppy mills within our state. Our animal abuse laws are strong, and provide animal control agencies the ability to address multiple issues and effectively stop any overproduction and misuse of animals. This is why California has very few large breeding programs in the state. Our greatest issue, is the lucrative business of puppy brokers, who bring in and sell puppies from outside of California. These puppies are often sick, misrepresented to the buyer and provide no protections to the purchaser. California’s law is very weak when it comes to consumer protections for these transactions. Unfortunately, AB 702 addresses the wrong problem.
The aim of this bill is to require small scale breeders give their animals a basic level of humane care, while ensuring those animals are not overbred. We agree that puppy brokers are also bad actors that need to be dealt with, and encourage CalAnimals to get a bill going that we can support.
Public animal shelters throughout California have worked tirelessly to be a community resource for animals who need assistance. There is great concern that puppies who may need our help won’t end up in a shelter because the owner may fear penalties for not obtaining a permit. Most puppies entering the public sheltering system aren’t intentionally bred. They are accidental pregnancies, and they tend to occur in communities who lack the resources both in location and money to pay for spay/neuter services. This bill has a significant impact on the underserved in our state.
We are working with Committee staff to allow for a warning citation for the first report of breeding without a permit. The unsubstantiated claim by CalAnimals that “most” puppies in shelters are not intentionally bred is impossible to prove and also goes against what we have personally seen and is reported by shelter directors and volunteers who also support AB 702.
In addition, the onerous requirements to obtain a permit are nearly impossible to meet, especially for accidental pregnancies, and it isn’t clear why some are included. The bill creates a statewide age guideline for reproductive health, something a veterinarian should assess. It requires a permanent placement of the breeder on a microchip without even knowing whether all microchip companies can provide that service, or the purpose.
We have had conversations with veterinarians on the age requirement and are open to amending some of the requirements where they make sense, however CalAnimals has not made any suggestions, just blanket opposition. Microchip registries all have the ability to list multiple contacts, surprising they do not know this.
Lastly, this bill won’t provide visibility to the “bad players” in breeding. It will just push them further underground. What this bill does, is places greater barriers on those who want to follow the rules and do the right things. These aren’t the breeders we are concerned with in California.
As the agency who represents private and public animal control agencies, those who fight to protect animals in our state, we are strongly opposed to this bill, and urge your NO vote.
Opponents of every bill which attempts to set standards for industry always claim it will push “bad actors” underground. Bad actors are already underground. A permit requirement gives animal control and local jurisdictions a tool to reach them and pull them into the light. Further, CalAnimals also opposed one of our bills in 2018 and lobbied the Governor to veto it. The bill would have required climate control in all animal control trucks upon replacement. Due to CalAnimals dogs and cats continue to cook in the back of their trucks, so much for protecting animals.
Please, if you have not sent in a letter yet, do so now!
And please call the Chair of the Business & Professions Committee, Evan Low, 916-319-2028.
Let him know that in spite of what CalAnimals and the dog breeders have to say, our supporters (listed below) are seeing all the same problems that are being reported in the press, and they are the ones cleaning up the mess.
Our state, with 40 million people and one of the largest economies in the world must set minimum standards for the poor voiceless ones who cannot ask for the help. Please support the animals and their families by supporting AB 702!
You see what we are up against.
Here is a current list of organizations that have sent in support letters and we have about 200 individual letters:
A.L.M.A., Orange County
American Rat Terrier, Isleton
Angels in Fur Dog Rescue, Granada Hills
Animal Rescuers without Borders, San Diego
Baja Animal Sanctuary, San Diego
City of National City
Coalition for Pets and Public Safety, West Hollywood
Democrats for the Protection of Animals, Los Angeles
Dogs in Need K-9 Rescue
E.M.I.L.Y. Dog Rescue, San Diego
Eastwood Ranch Foundation, Calabasas
Harley’s Dream, Colorado
K9 Connection Pet Rehoming and Adoption, Carlsbad Kosmas Garden, Los Angeles
Last Chance at Life – All Breed Rescue & Adoptions, Escondido
Not One Animal Harmed, Oceanside
Ozzie Foundation, Whittier
Palo Alto Humane Society, Palo Alto
Peace 4 Animals, Los Angeles
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Worldwide
Pet Assistance Foundation, Long Beach
Promise 4 Paws, San Juan Capistrano
Rabbit Rescue, Paramount
Rancho Coastal Humane Society, Southern California Retrievers & Friends of Southern CA, Temecula
San Diego Animal Advocates, San Diego
Save the Dalmations & Others Canine Rescue, Fountain Valley
Scratch My Belly, Rancho Santa Fe
Sirius Dog Training, Carlsbad
Southland Collie Rescue, Dana Point
St. John’s Creative
Starfish Animal Rescue, Los Angeles
START Rescue, Valley Village
Take Me Home Animal Rescue, Santa Monica
The Ark of San Juan, San Juan Capistrano
The Saving Slim Foundation, Escondido
The Spay Neuter Action Project, Encinitas
Vegan Justice, San Diego
Vegans of L.A., Los Angeles
VIDA Animal Shelter, Rowland Heights
Villa Charadonnay Horse with Wings, Julian
Wagging Dog Rescue, Carlsbad
Thank you for your time and support.
Social Compassion In Legislation