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Proposed bill bad for lost pets

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Sacramento, CA - I have a friend that lost a cat several years ago. He loved this cat, but unfortunately, the cat had no form of identification; no collar or microchip. Despite looking, my friend never found his furry feline companion, but at least he had the chance to look. If AB 2343 passes, “Any stray cat without identification may be made available for adoption or release to an animal rescue or adoption organization at any time.” Worse still, AB 2343 redefines an animal rescue or adoption organization to include “a for-profit or nonprofit ... entity, or a collaboration of individuals with at least one of its purposes being the sale or placement of any dog [or cat].”

In practical terms, this means that if you’re a cat owner, and you loose your cat in the morning, someone can go to the animal shelter and pick him up to sell to anyone else that same afternoon. You’ll have no legal right to complain, and you’ll be given no opportunity to even figure out your cat is missing, let alone try to find him.

The protections for dogs are a little better. “A stray dog without identification shall be held exclusively for owner redemption during the first 72 hours of the holding period.” After that, the dog could be released to someone who wants to sell him.

HSUS supports the bill, touting it’s increased hold period, mandatory vet care requirement, and $10 million dollar fund that will support the changes. However, HSUS doesn’t take into account that the bill would significantly weaken the few protections animals have in shelters today.

Nathan Winograd, director of the No Kill Advocacy Center, strenuously opposes this bill. In his Facebook post addressing this bill, Winograd writes about the types of people that animals could be released to. “There is no requirement that the individuals be licensed, have any sort of corporate status, or have standards of any kind. As written, they do not even have to sell animals to be companions, but can be in the business of selling dogs or cats for any purpose whatsoever.”

Think about that, this “collaboration of individuals” can go into a shelter and have an animal released to them that they plan to sell for any purpose whatsoever. While the bill does have some positive points, the drawbacks are huge. California pet owners and pet lovers should write their local assembly member today and urge them to reject this bill.