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Commentary: Voter's guide to animal-friendly candidates in California

California’s Primary is only two days away. Until we elect representatives who believe in concepts such as shelter reform, spay and neuter, prosecution of animal abusers and elimination of puppy mills, among others, we will not make progress in our fight to end the unnecessary suffering and slaughter of animals each year.

Below is a list of candidates who lean towards animal welfare. Not all are completely on board but each has shown an interest in doing what is right in at least some circumstances, especially in comparison to their opponents. If you know of others, please email their information to me by the end of the day and I will add them to the list.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors—Bobby Shriver earns the distinction of being the most proactive shelter reform candidate on the list. He includes animal protection as part of his platform.

Shriver is running for the Third District seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Los Angeles County includes shelters such as Baldwin Park, Sylmar and Lancaster.

Los Angeles County Assessor—Although county assessors have little say over animal control policy, it is one of the most important offices in the county for taxpayers. Jeffrey Prang is endorsed by a long list of animal-friendly legislators and the League of Humane Voters.

San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors—Assemblyman Curt Hagman is running for the Fourth District seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. This is a particularly important race in that this Board of Supervisors is the governing body for the infamous Devore Animal Shelter.

Hagman is the author of Molly’s Bill, which was signed into law in 2011. His legislation exempted dogs from Rabies vaccinations if veterinarians feel the vaccinations would endanger the dogs’ life.

San Bernardino County Assessor—Again, the county assessor has little impact on animal control policy. But, it is a very important office. Dan Harp is the best choice in San Bernardino County. He is a worker bee, not a politician like his opponent, who received a "D" on his voting record from PawPac while in the California Senate.

San Bernardino County District Attorney—District Attorney Mike Ramos is proactive in prosecuting animal cruelty and cock-fighting cases. The video above details some of what he has done since taking office.

San Bernardino County Sheriff—Sheriff John McMahon is a horse person and has been most of his life. Beyond that, among his specialized details is the Rural Crimes Unit. His deputies are specially trained to recognize abuse and investigate fighting rings. He hopes to increase the number of deputies in the unit as the economy and funding improve.

Assembly District 40—In a recent interview, Marc Steinorth had this to say about animal welfare, “I believe mandatory spay and neuter policies are very important for local governments to implement. These policies save large amounts of money on animal shelters and other pet control population measures.

“This is an example of government working smart and providing measures that are cost effective in the long run for taxpayers. I also believe incentives that encourage pet adoptions are good policies because they help reduce overcrowding in shelters and save on costs.”

Senate District 20—Matt Munson is a true animal lover. He supports shelter reform and incentives for shelters to do better. He has been an invaluable resource to me in terms of keeping his finger on the pulse of the rescue community and letting me know when a story needs to be written.

Senate District 34— Jose Solorio served in the California Assembly where he received an "A" from PawPac for his voting record on animal advocacy issues. He also has a strong record on environmental issues. He is now running for the California Senate

Congressional District 33—Senator Ted Lieu has been a friend to animals during his tenure in the California Legislature. He is close to the top of the list in terms of animal-friendly legislators. Now he is asking for the chance to go to Congress where he can make an impact at the national level.

Governor—I cannot tell you which of the candidates, if any, is animal-friendly. I can tell you which candidate is an animal’s worst nightmare.

Tim Donnelly is at the top of the list. He is an avid supporter of hunters and their right to kill everything in sight. He introduced legislation to repeal Senator Ted Lieu’s legislation that outlawed the use of GPS dogs in bear and cat hunting.

I can easily see him as supporting Ag-Gag legislation in the name of making California more business friendly. He supports fracking in Monterey with no concern for the wildlife or environment. And I could see him supporting elimination of protections for farm animals.

There are only three candidates who could make the top two in the General Election. The other two are Governor Jerry Brown and Neel Kashkari. I do not know if Kashkari is animal friendly or not. I do know Brown tried to repeal the Hayden Act a couple of years ago and found out what it is like to face the wrath of animal lovers. Whether or not he learned his lesson is unknown. Either way, neither Brown nor Kashkari can be worse than Donnelly.

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