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Exciting Legislation in California

Written by PETA | May 3, 2007

As you probably know, our country is in the midst of an extreme companion animal overpopulation crisis, and unfortunately, California (where some estimate that nearly a half million dogs and cats are euthanized for lack of good homes annually) is no exception.

Fortunately, a life-saving piece of legislation that would address this crisis—Assembly Bill 1634—has been introduced in the California Assembly, and if it becomes law, AB 1634 would prohibit any person from owning or possessing any unaltered cat or dog over the age of four months, unless that person purchases an intact-animal permit. Violators would be fined, and the money raised from the fines would be used to fund free and low-cost spay and neuter programs.

The cool thing about this legislation is that it would make California a safer place for people and save animal lives. According to one Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, male dogs who are not neutered are almost three times more likely to attack a human being than are those who are sterilized, so this really is a win-win proposition.

If you happen to live in California, please politely urge your assembly member (click on the links for “Find My District” and “Member Directory” on the left side of the page) to support AB 1634. And please forward this information to anyone you know who does live there.

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  • B. C . barrett says:

    I don’t understand why PETA backs this bill. The original had provisions allowing an exception for those with business licenses a.k.a. mills. Why would PETA back that?

  • Dr. M.F.Bloom says:

    One of my cats was stolen trapped and sent to a shelter where it was taken in as an unaltered feral animal…been altered for 7 years sleeps on my bed and goes out only during daylight hours..comes when called..the person who took him used a trap..I now live in fear of my cats enjoying the sunshine…they have lived with me in California for over five years..yet I cannot be told who took the cat only that it was on the block behind my yard..I would educate that person if I could find him or her…but the shelter condones what was done didn’t check for a microchip and was going to put the animal down until I discovered that he was being held in an isolated area presumably because he was a feral..neither did any one check between his legs to see that he was fixed until I forced that issue after finding a photo on a website…how many housecats have been thus disposed of who belonged to responsible owners because we believe cats should be free to leave their homes during the day???

  • you are jerks says:

    you are jerks and tactics will change you will be defeated jerks

  • K K says:

    To Scott…you are wasting your breath on these quoteunquote people. They have no sense just an agenda to push and a desire to attack others who don’t share their viewpoint or who point out clear areas where they are wrong factwise and logically. My advice is to look at their hidden agenda their tactics and take your actions from there. I know I will!

  • Basia says:

    Sky I hate to say this but if you can’t afford a fortydollar spayneuter vet bill why would you own an animal. Forty dollars is not that much and it costs way more than that to be able to care for an animal. So obviously if you can’t afford a $40 bill which should be part of the care the animal should be recieving then you shouldn’t own this pet at all. I agree however that funds need to go towards making pet care cheaper and more accessible. I can’t propose my own ideas for that because i can’t think of any at the moment but it doesn’t bother me because you don’t have any suggestions either. I am after all only fifteen. But i certainly found the time BY MYSELF i don’t drive i don’t have a job and i live in Auburn to go to the shelter get my new dog his name is Taco he’s a border collie and about a year old and a very hyperactive dog thank you and take him to the shelter. It my time and my money but obviously if i couldn’t face the ‘daunting’ task of walking a miles from my home to the pet shelter to the vet’s then how would i expect to feed my dog about ten dollars every two weeks and go for walks every day if i couldn’t handle THAT?

  • Sky says:

    I definitely support the idea behind this bill but they need to make better provisions for people who can’t afford to spayneuter their pets. I live in the Sacramento area there is only one place I know of where you can get a voucher to have your pet spayed for free which only a few clinics will redeem. These locations are simply too few and far between in our sprawling metropolitan area with terrible public transportation I might add to service the many lowincome pet owners who may not have transportation. I myself adopted three stray cats that were about to be taken to a shelter although I kept them indoors between one male and two females they ended up producing ten kittens that I found homes for myself because I couldn’t afford to get them all “fixed” in time to prevent it. At the time I had no transportation and the only place providing free vouchers was twenty miles away in an area with no bus service! Even the “low cost” services are $2040 per cat which was too much for my budget then and the closest clinic that provided this service was still too far away to get to without a car. So they need to make sure any funds go first and foremost toward making free and lowcost services more accesible that is the only way this law is going to actually reduce the unwanted pet population. If your cat isn’t spayed because you can’t afford a $40 vet bill how do they expect you to pay a $300 fine?

  • JEN says:

    I agree with some opinions about the importance of purebred animals being created however it is CRAP to say that you don’t find purebred pets in shelters. To assume that they are all wanted and appreciated is ridiculous. If that’s the case then tell me why there are so many PUREBRED RESCUES dedicated to one specific breed… I have been volunteering at local humane societies for years now and can tell you that a large number of animals from “good breeding” come and go through there regularly. I myself have recently adopted a purebred Tonkinese cat that is not only more scared and shy than the “mixed breed” cats that I work with he is also plagued by several congenital health issues. I love him dearly but my 3 legged exstray tabby is far more sweet and healthy than this beautiful cat of good stock. It’s not a question of good breeding its a question of good ownership. Too bad there isn’t a law that requires a compassion test before you’re allowed to adopt. I can only hope that this kind of legislation will find its way around the country not just CA.

  • Rick Hollander says:

    Kelly Kelly Kellythis thread is about AB1634. Purebred dogs and cats whose guardians obtain a permit and the bill mandates that such permits be available at a cost that shall be no more than what is reasonably necessary to fund the administration of that jurisdiction’s intact permit program I don not agree with the point that I and other responsible breeders should have to pay. Posted by kelly May 8 2007 0416 PM What happened to those ethics when it came to using puppy mill registration blood money to fund dog shows breed clubs etc? I seriously have no idea what are you talking about? Posted by kelly May 8 2007 0416 PM You and your friends are running illegal businesses and not paying taxes and often breaking other laws as well LOL seriously this is crazy talk LOL Posted by kelly May 8 2007 0416 PM You know full well that you and your friends ARE making money some quite considerable sums. Kelly Im sure that there are people out there no one Ive known or would associate with that do flood the marked with litter after litter. Myself I have one bitch that is a year an a half old and Im not planning on breeding her for a couple of years. So you are wrong yet again. When I was a kid my parents raised dogs. We had raised 1 litter every year for a couple of years and only once did we ever have 2. We were listed as a business for IRS purposes. We lost money every year and had to fold. Posted by kelly May 8 2007 0416 PM And you know full well that some of your “selected” homes are dumping these dogs sometimes without your knowledge sometimes with your knowledge. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE I know has a clause in the contract that if the new owners cannot keep the dog for any reason that they the breeder be told so that the pet can be brought home. Ive seen breeders pay for shipping charges and do anything and everything they can to get the dog back to a loving home. Posted by kelly May 8 2007 0416 PM You and your breed clubs and “dog owner” groups and “dog law” groups support for example chaining dogs outside 247 to die in the weather. Who in their right mind would do something like this??? I mean seriously! I have 3 dogs at home. Two were rescued from animal control and one a full bred dog that I show. They are all house dogs and they are allliving the life! They are all genuinely members of our family and NEVER would an animal be found tied up at my house. Whats the point? Kelly speaking of hurt credibility you cannot generalize and points fingers at people that you dont know. I am not a member of AKC nor do I support the issue of which you speak. So oops wrong again. Kelly every time you post all I hear is psycho You appear to be one of those PETA extremists that are continually giving PETA a blackeye. Your hatred is unwarranted and uncalled for and I find it quite amusing to say the least. Kelly The Doctor will see you now

  • kelly says:

    Rick Hollander you are not telling the truth. You know as well as I do that “codes of ethics” are worthless. After all you and your friends support the AKC which is in the puppy mill business. What happened to those ethics when it came to using puppy mill registration blood money to fund dog shows breed clubs etc? If you only have two litters a year how would this law hurt you? It wouldn’t not in any way whatsoever. You know the answer. You and your friends are running illegal businesses and not paying taxes and often breaking other laws as well and you know full well that the licensing would expose your underground businesses. Most of you have more dogs than you claim to have. You know full well that you and your friends ARE making money some quite considerable sums. And you know full well that some of your “selected” homes are dumping these dogs sometimes without your knowledge sometimes with your knowledge. And your “spay neuter” contracts are legally worthless. Your buyers are often using your animals in their backyard breeding operations because you DON’T spay neuter before sale. And back to ethics. You your friends and your breed clubs fight AGAINST anticruelty laws. You and your breed clubs and “dog owner” groups and “dog law” groups support for example chaining dogs outside 247 to die in the weather. Be honest. Don’t hide behind this ethics smokescreen. Or this fake “responsible” or “hobbyist” con. Admit your true interests. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. It’s ALL ABOUT THE BUSINESS. When you lie you deserve no credibility. And you are not telling the truth.

  • Maya says:

    Rick I’m always relieved to see people with moderate reasonable viewpoints and I have yelled at PETA and people many times for being unwilling to compromise. I personally do support the bill. My only point is that if breeders have any ethics at all the first code will be to treat all animals humanely FOLLOWED CLOSELY BY a vow to never ever dump their unwanted animals on an animal shelter. If breeders do not take this vow they are all unethical. I don’t mean to be presumptuous if that’s one of their codes of ethics then I will gain more respect for breeders.

  • Teresa says:

    The California Healthy Pets Act AB1634 is a model law that has the potential to spare countless animals in California from suffering and dying agonizing deaths. Anyone who opposes this bill is either terribly misinformed about what it actually says or makes money selling purposefullybred animals and doesnt want the small reasonable fee for a permit cutting into his or her profits. AB1634 would require that dogs and cats be spayed and neutered by the age of four months. Spayneuter surgeries on animals younger than four months have far fewer complications than surgeries performed on older animals and they ensure that these animals never have to suffer the painful conditions of testicular cancer and pyometra deadly uterine infections common in unspayed female dogs. The bill exempts the following animals Purebred dogs and cats whose guardians obtain a permit and the bill mandates that such permits be available at a cost that shall be no more than what is reasonably necessary to fund the administration of that jurisdiction’s intact permit program Dogs used as guides or other dogs considered service animals however these dogs would greatly benefit from being spayed and neutered both for health and behavioral reasons Dogs who are used by law enforcement agencies for law enforcement or rescue activities another group who would greatly benefit from being spayed and neutered Dogs and cats whose veterinarians determine that due to age poor health or illness it is unsafe to spay or neuter them Nonresident show dogs and dogs brought into the state for exhibition With the support of agencies like the California Veterinary Medical Association a sponsor of the bill and the city governments of Los Angeles and Long Beach AB1634 is far from extreme. With more than 800000 animals thats about two times as many animals as the entire human population of Sacramento! admitted to animal shelters in California annually many of them ending up in bags in freezers landfills and incinerators purposefully breeding even one animal is not only extreme but unconscionable. If you are thinking of opposing this bill or arent sure you want to go to the trouble of calling or writing to your legislators to express full support of it have the courage of your convictions and spend this week in the euthanasia room of your local animal shelter. Hold frightened animals at least 25 of whom are purebreds as they take their final breaths their bodies go limp and their hearts stop beating because there are more of them than there are people to care for them. Having taken the lives of thousands of animals myself because the only other options were to abandon them back on the streets or stack them in cages to the moon and back I dont think requiring people to sterilize their own companion animals or buy a permit to help offset the monetary costs associated with addressing the severe overpopulation crisis nothing can offset the costs in animal suffering and deaths is a strong enough reaction to what is happening to dogs and cats in this country. However AB1634 certainly is a positive step in the right direction and should be wholeheartedly supported by California residents. For more details about AB1634 visit cahealthypets.com. For more information about the companion animal overpopulation crisis and how you can help end the suffering it causes check out helpinganimals.com.

  • Rick Hollander says:

    Take a second and reread Scotts post May 3 2007 0654 PM. It is not propaganda. He is simply trying to educate. He has stated facts in the simplest form for all to understand. We are not the droids you are looking for One of my favorite Star Wars quotes o Your average hobbyist breeder has no more than 2 litters a year. If they belong to a breed club most have a code of ethics Breeders Code that they all sign and abide to. These dogs go to only select homes and are not the dogs that you would ever find running the streets. These people and their pets are not the problem and AB1634 would be hurting the people that care the most. The real problem is the backyard breeder that gets a bitch or a dog and wants to try and make some money. They dont understand that there is no money to be made in breeding dogs but they try. They proliferate the world with litter after litter and are not concerned about the betterment of the breed or anything about the standard. I agree something must be done but this is not the answer. We should continue to spay and neuter stray animals that find their way to the shelters and try and find a way to control the backyard breeder. Please try to keep an open mind. In order to find a middle ground people would have to listen and its hard to listen when your mind is made up and you believe that your cause is Right. Rick It is better to be highspirited even though one makes more mistakes than to be narrowminded and all too prudent. Vincent van Gogh

  • kelly says:

    Scott Oldfish I KNOW YOU AND YOUR BREEDER FRIENDS. I was one of you. I’ve heard your longwinded ridiculous excuses for why you should be able to do whatever selfish thing you want and allow animals to die. I KNOW that you “hobbyist” breeders are in fact MAKING MONEY and hiding the income. This “betterment of the breed” crap is just that CRAP! I KNOW that you are hiding illegal businesses in your homes not getting required kennel licenses not getting your animals licensed to hide the numbers breaking local animal limit laws. And NOT PAYING TAXES! You support groups like the AKC that make money from the puppy mills. and the AKC does NOT want mandatory altering because of that! They are protecting their puppy millers You SUPPORT animal cruelty like chaining dogs outside 247 to die in the weather. You DON’T spay and neuter the pups and kittens before sale and your “altering contracts” are unenforceable and useless. You and your friends are greedy and selfish and little more than common criminals cheating on your taxes. You only care about yourself. Period. And mandatory spay neuter law or not you better get ready to be held accountable for the role you and your friends play in enabling animal abuse.

  • Maya says:

    Scott hi I wanted to address a few things that you said! I totally see what you are saying and I think there is nothing inherently wrong with breeding animals just like there is nothing wrong with having kids so long as you are willing to care for them correctly. And you are right that people who pay a high price for a purebred are less likely to give them up. But you also say that breeding has nothing to do with overpopulating shelters. As I said before I worked at the MSPCA where we received 11500 animals each year. Purebred owners did not often bring us unwanted animals but the breeders sure did. Often we would be having a really good day getting “only” 10 or so animals instead of the usual 60. Then a breeder would come in with their “rejects” often bringing us anywhere between 6 to 14 animals. Licensed breeders absolutely unequoivocally flooded our shelters on a regular basis giving no chance for the sweet strays to be adopted who would choose them over a purebred? And I’m sorry you had a bad experience with a shelter animal at least you tried. As you can see though you did find a home where both the animal and the guardian seem happy! I give my personal guarantee to you and everyone else that although it may take some time you can find the perfect pet at a shelter or even on the streets. It’s a science and it must be done right. Look up the numbers 30 to 40 percent of shelter animals are purebred. The vet I worked for explained in a seminar that GOOD breeders do so to improve the breed to make healthy gentle animals. I totally get that. However isn’t it a shame that someone would understandably pass up a bit of time and effort at a shelter to get a purebred? As a certified vet tech and shelter worker I’m here to tell you it’s costing real lives. I stand behind my previous statement animal shelters should stop accepting unwanted animals and only take in strays. Otherwise we may as well give up.

  • Jack says:

    Patty Carson your analogy fails to take into account the fact that millions of unwanted animals are being euthanised each year while millions more languish in shelters or die homeless on the streets. It doesn’t show a particularly progressive mindset about animal welfare to compare these animals to criminals nor is it even remotely helpful in addressing this crisis. Furthermore it should go without saying that this crisis is significantly exacerbated by anyone who makes their living breeding animals. I’m just shocked by the number of breeders who have been getting all highminded in their comments on this blog as if they weren’t a huge part of this problem in the first place. There’s no such thing as “responsible” breeding when there’s a monumental overpopulation crisis going on. Jeez.

  • Rachael says:

    I am surprised by people who think that dogs and cats should not be bred in any circumstances until there are no shelter dogs. Should we next stop people from “breeding” children until all of the kids in foster care are in permanent homes? Animals end up in the shelter for the same reason kids end up in foster care a total lack of responsibility on the part of the ownerparent. For a group who seem to equate dogs and worms and humans as equal this is quite a gap in logic. And if future posters could please also post references for their “statistics” we would all be appreciative. Numbers can be and are frequently skewed to make an “argument” more emotional.

  • Patty Carson says:

    This bill is akin to requiring all Californians to quit having children because our jails are full.

  • Scott Oldfish says:

    Restricting breeding of cats and dogs in California is completely unjustified. People who want purebred cats will have them brought in from other states easily enough it is quite cheap to fly them in especially considering how much a purebred animal costs to begin with but most importantly it is not purebred cats who are overpopulating shelters. Most breeders do not profit from their breeding believe it or not. They are predominantly hobbyist breeders who do so from their homes and since they operate from a residential address would not be entitled to apply for the intact permit required for breeding because this requires a business license first. So we are left with owners of puppy and kitten mills who really do see breeding as a business and it is these unscrupulous people who contribute to the unwanted pet population. This legislation only serves to make it easier for these awful people to operate. The core of this problem is people who take in stray animals but do not neuter or spay them. These wellfed animals reproduce and contribute to the unwanted pet population. This socalled Healthy Pets Act cannot possibly target them because these people could very easily argue that these stray cats and dogs belong to them that they are strays and they just feed and play with them. This is just a feelgood bill that does nothing to solve the real problem that not enough is being done to spay and neuter stray animals.

  • Maya says:

    This bill is nice and I’m glad it is around but as a former shelter worker I have something to add. I worked in a large animal shelter and in one year we recieved 11500 animals. SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT of them were destroyed. I alone killed 800 healthy young friendly animals. Heck PETA should be coming after me for that!! 7000 of those unwanted animals were cats and half of those were strays. 90 PERCENT OF THE CATS THAT WERE DESTROYED WERE STRAYS!! Most of the ones who were adopted had been given up by people. The earliest oldest animal shelters were for STRAYS ONLY! There needs to be a nokill shelter in EVERY town in this country and we need the shelters to stop accepting unwanted pets. Find your own freakin’ home for your unwanted pet!!! There are an average of 2000 stray cats in every town in Massachusetts where I live. These animals need a shelter just for them. Period.

  • albert heer says:

    there are enough homeless animals in this world waiting for adoption we don’t need to breed more of them!

  • Linda H says:

    AB1634 encourages the creation of spayneuter clinics but it specifically states that all funds collected are to be used for administration of the permit program outreach to inform people of the mandatory spayneuter requirements and enforcement. It DOES NOT provide funds for lowcost spayneuter programs. Read the Funding and Enforcement clauses in the bill.

  • Sarah says:

    I used to live in California and it is amazing how many stray animals there were. Where I lived in a nice neighbor hood there were a huge number of feral cats. This is a great bill and I hope it passes I hated seeing so many homeless animals and so many dead animals on the side of the road. This bill will totally save lives and hopefully after it passes it will influence other states to do the same. Go California!!

  • kelly says:

    Scott Oldfish represents the forprofit breeder and AKC lobby. Read his words “they are not eligible for business licenses.” Yeah they should be getting business licenses NOW Scott. They are running illegal businesses NOW! His words are nonsense and propaganda that breeders have been spreading around to try to keep their hands on the blood money they make breeding. Breeders are afraid of licensing. Why? Because many of them are not reporting their income yes even those hobbyists that falsely claim that they don’t make any and not paying taxes. They want to keep their hands on their under the table incomes and often illegal hidden businesses. Not to mention they don’t want to lose a dime by paying extra licensing fees or paying to have puppies kittens altered before sale. Shame on you breeders!! You are directly involved in the overpopulation problem. Your hands are dirty! And you are cheating the rest of us with your CURRENTLY illegal businesses.

  • Scott Oldfish says:

    Clearly there is a lack of understanding as to why people choose to purchase a purebred animal rather than one from a shelter. The primary reason is that breeds not only look a certain way but carry certain character traits. It is often difficult to tell especially with dogs just how big they will be and whether they will be aggressive when they are older whether they are spayedneutered or not. Additionally responsible breeders are also able to better screen potential buyers so that homed animals are sure to go to people who will care for them. The other advantage is that when someone pays a lot of money for a purebred animal usually upwards of $600 then that person is less likely to “dispose” of the animal once they relocate or just plain decide that they don’t feel like having the responsibility of a pet anymore. The other point that needs to be considered is that there are centuries long lines of breeds that deserve to be preserved and a lot of this work is done in California. It would be extremely detrimental to California’s economy to drive these breeding programs out of the state. Consider that cat and dog shows are held every weekend a great number of them in California offering state revenue in the form of hotels being used show halls being hired pet food and other products being purchased and of course they contribute funds to local animal shelters. You can Google many animal shelters who oppose this bill so take the time to ask yourself why this is the case. But most importantly while it seems to make sense that halting breeding programs will also put a stop to the unwanted pet population there is no connection between the two. This is because people who want purebred animals will have no problem bringing them in from other states since transporting animals by plane is relatively inexpensive I am looking to buy a purebred cat and have found that they cost around $1000 to $1200 and it will only cost $125 to fly one to California from almost anywhere in the USA. I am doing this because the last cat I had was from a shelter and she was fully grown when I adopted her. Unfortunately I couldn’t leave her at home by herself because she would become extremely distressed when home alone. I tried introducing her to the neighbor’s cat so that she would have some company during the day but she did not get along with other cats. After three years of her being miserable I found a home for her with someone who is there all day and now the cat is very happy. I am upset because despite everything I had become attached to the cat and so did not want to risk finding myself with another pet with an unpredictable personality that might also be miserable in my home. Purebred cats and dogs generally have very predictable character traits which make them very appealing. People don’t usually want an animal just because it looks good but because its personality fits with their lifestyle. That is why so many cats and dogs are dumped in shelters because they are nervous temperamental difficult to train overly dependent aggressive towards children timid etc. Obviously something needs to be done about stray animals in California. Purebred cats and dogs are not stray animals.

  • Chris says:

    With so many dogs and cats left wanting for caring homes euthanasia is an necessary if tragic reality. Any breeding under the current circumstances which aren’t going to be significantly changed anytime soon without a lot more legislation of this type is unjustifiable and irresponsible. The bottom line nobody should be breeding while cats and dogs are being euthanized. Nobody. This piece of legislation is very very good news for animals in California.

  • Gerardo says:

    I strongly desagree with you. This law make a lot of sense and I hope it passes. I don’t think that there is necesary to breed dogs and cats “in controled breading” when many companion animals are been KILLED euthanasia is a world for people who has or wants a CHOICE to die. Once again more ESPECISM in people that reads this webpage and even in animal welfare corporations like PETA who should stop using the world euthanasia and pets.

  • Scott Oldfish says:

    The provisions in this bill against cat and dog breeders don’t make any sense. Except for the people who run kitten and puppy mills none of them would be eligible for a license because they tend to breed in very small numbers two or three litters a year in their homes where they are not eligible for the business license required to apply for an intact permit. Animals who are in controlled breeding programs do not contribute to the unwanted pet population and should be excluded from AB 1634. The focus should be placed on netuering and spaying stray animals and those who wind up in animal shelters and on kitten and puppy mill owners who do not take back pets from owners who are no longer able to take care of them but either euthanize them or dump them in animal shelters.

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