Law Regulating Animal Euthanasia Threatened

Animal rights advocates are urging Gov. Jerry Brown not to eliminate a law that sets restrictions on euthanizing animals, and they’re getting help from the law’s author.

PROP ZERO: Advocates Unleash California's First Dog in Shelter Fight

Hayden’s Law, passed in 1999, requires local shelters to wait at least four to six days before euthanizing a dog or cat, and requires operating hours that allow working people to visit shelters during the weekend and evenings.

Tom Hayden, author of the law and former California legislator, said the law, in danger of being eliminated, protected at-risk animals.

About  65,000 dogs and cats were put to death every year in Los Angeles County at the time of its writing, he said.

"Most of them could be adopted out; most of them were healthy enough to be given a second chance," Hayden said. "They weren’t guilty of anything."

Brown’s administration claimed the provision is costly and ineffective because it didn’t increase the number of families who want to adopt, just the supply from which they can choose – leading to crowding living conditions and decreased quality of life at shelters.

The non-partisan Legal Analyst’s Office also found inconsistencies in the law, citing that it rewarded shelters with poor adoption rates. But Hayden said that’s no reason to repeal the law.

But as a dog-owner himself, Brown should be more sympathetic to the cause, Hayden said.

Proponents of the law are attempting to pull at the governor's heart strings to shift his political stance, even going so far as creating a Facebook page for the first-dog, Sutter.

The governor’s office has proposed changes to the law that would provide budget incentives to shelters based on how many animals they euthanize, and none for how many they adopt out.

Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @PropZero or add your comment to our Facebook page.

Contact Us