Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AB 1634 - Senate Vote - Please Help

Cross Posted with Permission from

AB 1634 will face its final hurdle in the California state legislature over the next few weeks. The bill was "gut amended" in June into a different bill, one that on the surface appeared to remove many objections. Unfortunately the new AB 1634 is arguably worse than the old bill. If Californians don't seriously step up the response, this bill will soon pass the California state legislature. If the governor doesn't veto it will become illegal to own an intact dog or intact cat in California.

As Assembly member Levine explained in his testimony before the Senate Local Government Committee several weeks ago, AB 1634 makes owning an intact dog or intact cat a "secondary offense", analogous to the seat belt law which made driving without a seat belt a secondary offense.

Make no mistake about what this means. It means that owning an intact dog or cat will be illegal in California, no exceptions. No exceptions for registered purebreds. No exceptions for dogs or cats owned by responsible breeders. No exceptions for police dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, detection dogs, hunting dogs, working farm and ranch dogs, or any other dog. There are no longer any exemptions or ways to obtain intact permits in AB 1634. All that was removed when the bill was gut amended.

Furthermore, the primary offense that activates the fines and sterilization mandate in AB 1634 includes "complaints" -- mere allegations that need not be valid or proven. Your neighbor can complain that your intact dog was in his yard, and even if you can prove the allegation was untrue, even if no one believes the allegation, you can still be fined or ordered to sterilize your dog. Mr. Levine used this very example in his committee testimony.

AB 1634 will be voted on in the full California State Senate sometime between August 5 and August 31 (the deadline). It already passed the Assembly.

The State Senate is not receiving as much opposition to the new AB 1634 as they had about the previous versions. I have spoken with Senate staff and heard this message. I am seeing only a small fraction of the response that we had last year. Your letters, faxes, and emails sent last year don't count anymore.

If Californians don't seriously step up the response, this bill will pass the California state legislature. We managed to stop the old bill and can stop this one. We cannot stop it with well-reasoned arguments alone. It doesn't work that way. We can stop it if those arguments come from tens of thousands of Californians. If you own an intact dog or intact cat in California, if you want responsible dog or cat breeding to continue in California, or if you just don't like the idea of the state government declaring all intact dogs and cats illegal, then please take action now. There is no longer any time to wait.

Ways that you can take action are on the home page of the Save Our Dogs website. Some of them only take a few minutes of your time (a brief phone call to your state senator's office and a customizable email using NAIA's capwiz that already has major objections for you to select). The most effective thing you can do is to visit the district office of your state senator and discuss your objections.

A review of the major objections to the bill is here, formatted as a sample letter you can edit as you see fit.

Please help.
Laura Sanborn

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