In the midst of a $24.3 BILLION river of red, yesterday the California State Senate took a few moments to reject one of the legislative session’s most controversial bills, aimed at encouraging — or perhaps compelling — dog and cat owners to have their animals neutered.
Proponents argue that each year nearly one million unwanted cats and dogs are born in California. Left un-spayed and un-neutered, these animals propagate beyond the capacity of local animal shelters, animals rescue groups and the community to accommodate them. SB 250 attempts to address the issues associated with California’s dog and cat overpopulation by increasing the state restrictions that apply to dogs and cats and their owners.
Opponents of the bill see things differently. They believe that SB 250 represents a continued trend of State interference in the personal lives of citizens and their pets. They viewed the bill as essentially a statewide mandatory spay and neuter program which presents problematic policy on several fronts:
- Usurps individual rights supplanting it with government’s authority to make fundamental decisions regarding the health and welfare of pets;
- Dictates a one size fits all solution, constricting local control and flexibility;
- Nothing in statute prohibits a local government from instituting their own mandatory spay and neuter ordinances.
Although most animal owners acknowledge the public health and public finance problems caused by dog and cat overpopulation, they oppose government requirements for spaying or neutering animals. While there is support for altering abandoned animals that will be released from public animal shelters, many oppose the mandatory spaying and neutering of owned animals. Yesterday’s vote on the Senate Floor seemed to reflect that sentiment.
However it is expected that the measure will recieve “Reconsideration” allowing one more opportunity for the bill to be heard and voted upon.
UPDATE June 2, 2009 @ 12:42 pm: SB 250 (Florez) affter being granted the courtesy of “reconsideration” the bill is still short of the number of votes required for passage.