The Pet Rescue And Adoption Act & The Police Canine Encounters Protection Act In California Passes The First Committees

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L-R: Amitis Ariano,Simone Reyes, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Judie Mancuso, Henry Brezinski, Katie Cleary, Assemblymember Matt Dababneh, Dr. Karen Halligan, Andrew Kim

World Animal News was at the Capitol yesterday with our partner Social Compassion In Legislation who presented The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act at the Assembly Business and Professions Committee who approved bill AB 485, by a vote of 10-1. AB 485 is authored by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell with Assembly Member Matt Dababneh the bill’s principal co-author. Social Compassion In Legislation (SCIL), a California animal advocacy group is the sponsor of the vanguard legislation.

“My office has heard from hundreds of voices across the state calling for this responsible approach to pet ownership,” said Assembly Member O’Donnell. “By promoting access to rescue animals in local pet stores, AB 485 will help thousands of adoptable animals find their forever home.”

“I am proud to be the Principal Co-Author for AB 485 the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act,” stated Assembly Member Dababneh. “It was great to see my colleagues in the committee support this cause today. This bill is an important step in ending the inhumane and deplorable breeding practices of puppy mills, and fostering increased adoption opportunities for pets at local shelters.”

Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell and Assemblymember Matt Dababneh

Following in the highly successful footsteps of the City of Los Angeles’ ordinance originally passed in 2012 and permanently extended in 2016, the new bill will require all dogs, cats and rabbits offered for retail sale to be obtained by public or private animal shelters located in California and non-profit rescue groups. The life-saving ordinance has been replicated in 31 other California cities and over 200 cities nationwide.

“We believe today’s positive outcome will be the first of many for the advancement of AB 485. With so many competing important issues of the day, we are especially grateful to Assembly Members O’Donnell and Dababneh for standing up against cruelty to animals and defending the voiceless,” said Judie Mancuso, president of Social Compassion in Legislation, who also spearheaded the original bill passed by the City of Los Angeles along with and many other local jurisdictions in the state. “Passing this bill into law will be a gigantic step forward in solving the state’s pet overpopulation crisis and will shut the door to the socially unacceptable cruelty of mill-bred animals.”

Judie Mancuso

“Selling animals in pet stores is simply an outdated argument and business practice,” said Andrew Kim, CEO and founder of natural pet nutrition and supply company, Healthy Spot, which currently employs more than 200 people, has eight locations and plans to expand to at least 11 by the end of the year. Kim, who credits most as his company’s success to the fact that Healthy Spot has been humane since day one by partnering with local rescue groups and shelters, passionately spoke at this morning’s hearing.

“AB 485 is codifying the best business practices of successful pet retailers in California in driving business, reducing the overcrowding of adoptable pets in the shelter system and building goodwill in the community by providing adoption options through rescue partners,” he said, further explaining the need for retailers to embrace this trend and accommodate a millennial generation that takes pride in purchasing for a cause which, in turn, increases spending power. “This updated business model benefits the consumer, the retailer, the pets and the State of California.”

“I was thrilled to graduate in 1989 from UC Davis, the number one vet school in the world, and to take an oath to protect animal health and welfare as well as prevent and relieve animals from suffering. Then I became a shelter vet for over 12 years. It changed my life, but not in a good way,” said Dr. Karen Halligan, the Chief Veterinary Officer for the Lucy Pet Foundation, who further described, this morning, the excruciating experience of being a shelter vet who had to go cage by cage deciding which animal would live and which would die. “I’ve had beautiful adoptable animals lick my hand, and then had to put them to sleep, because that was my job.  And we still ask that of workers to do every day. As you can imagine, turnover is high.”

Dr. Karen Halligan

“Animal shelters have drastically improved their efforts in finding more animals forever homes in the past decade but, there is still an overpopulation problem in California. AB 485 will further aid all of us in our mission to save more lives and lower sheltering costs,” said Henry Brzezinski, Legislative Chair of the California Animal Control Directors Association. “Not only will the number of adoptions increase, there will be a decrease in unwanted population, with fewer surrenders and strays, because there will be no mill animals going out unaltered like they do now.”

Katie Cleary, President of World Animal News with Assemblymember Matt Dababneh

“The time is now, progress is being made in California to save millions of animals’ lives across the country by making rescue and shelter animals available for adoption at pet stores, with the passage of The Pet Rescue And Adoption Act in the first committee,” said Katie Cleary, President of World Animal News & Peace 4 Animals. “Also, the passage of The Police Canine Encounters Act the first committee was also critical, and has brought us one step closer to being able to educate officers on the ways to properly handle situations without using lethal force when coming in contact with dogs in the field”. “These two bills will not only change the game for companion animals across the country, but for California to be able to take the lead as the most humane state in the U.S.”

Simone Reyes

“California, voting to get AB1199 and AB485 through the first committee, is displaying the progressive and compassionate leadership the State has been known to do on animal issues. I feel very encouraged by these exciting steps and look forward to getting mandatory police training for canine encounters on the books and shelter animals offered in retail stores”. Says Simone Reyes -VP of Social Compassion In Legislation.

“We need more avenues to get these beautiful animals adopted, instead of putting them to death only because we have failed as a society,” concluded Mancuso. “As California taxpayers, we spend over a quarter of a billion dollars annually to house, adopt out and euthanize animals.  We need to implement solutions that further adoption and not settle for status quo for one more year.”

Tragically, more than 2.7 million healthy adoptable dogs, cats and rabbits are euthanized each year in shelters throughout the United States. California shelters put down more than one thousand dogs and cats every single day.

AB 485 will be voted on next by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

AB 1199, THE POLICE-CANINE ENCOUNTERS PROTECTION ACT, IS VOTED THROUGH TO THE ASSEMBLY APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

The Assembly Public Safety Committee, today, approved AB 1199, The Police-Canine Encounters Protection Act, by a vote of 6-1.

Authored by Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian, 46th District, and sponsored by SocialCompassion In Legislation (SCIL), a California animal advocacy group, this critically important bill is designed to keep police and the dogs they encounter, safe.

Tragically, it is estimated that every 98 minutes a dog is shot by law enforcement in the United States; which is devastating for both the family and for the police officer involved. AB 1199 will require mandatory in-service canine encounter training to California peace officers.

“We are thrilled with the progress AB 1199 made this morning. Police officers want this training and dog owners want this training, it’s a win-win for everyone,” said Nazarian. “Police officers without proper training are too often stuck in a terrible lose-lose situation. We need to proactively train police officers to ensure that they feel safe, and our family dogs are safe.”

The comprehensive training, which has already been successfully implemented by states such as Texas and Colorado, covers many areas including how to better understand the behavior and body language of dogs; tactical considerations and best practices during encounters involving dogs; safe and appropriate use of non-lethal force in handling dog encounters; and supplementary training two years after the original instruction.

“Law Enforcement Officers need to be protected from aggressive dogs in their daily encounters. Oftentimes, they do not know what they are going to be confronted with when arriving on scene,” said Henry Brzezinski, Legislative Chair of the California Animal Control Directors Association who testified at this morning’s hearing. “AB 1199 will provide the training needed to protect both the officers and the animals in our communities.”

“Both police officers and dog guardians have flooded social media in response to the continuing, but avoidable, tragic dog shootings. The public has been demanding canine encounter training, and that time has come,” concluded Social Compassion In Legislation.

AB 1199 will be voted on next by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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