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August 21, 2009

State Leaders Urge Californians to Adopt Shelter Pets

The Humane Society of the United States

SACRAMENTO — The Humane Society of the United States is joining with Assemblymember Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, and Assemblymember Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, to support passage of ACR 91, a resolution declaring September 2009 as "Adopt a Shelter Pet Month." ACR 91 urges Californians to adopt dogs and cats from the state's overcrowded animal shelters.

Recently the state opted to shorten the number of days that shelters are required to hold each animal to just three days as part of resolving the $24 billion budget deficit. While most shelters do what they can to hold adoptable and healthy pets for as long as they can, the strain caused by the loss of state funds and cuts made by local governments is being felt by shelters statewide. These cuts come at a time when demand for services has increased as families losing their homes are making the tough decision to give up their beloved companions when they can't find housing options that allow pets.

"California animal shelters are caught in the squeeze between reduced funding and increased intake of animals. And the animals pay with their lives," said The HSUS' California senior state director Jennifer Fearing. "More than 400,000 cats and dogs were euthanized in municipal shelters during 2008, and Californians can save lives just by adopting a wonderful companion from their local animal shelter."

"Every day, more than a thousand dogs and cats have to be killed because there are more people relinquishing and abandoning their pets than there are families choosing to adopt," said Assemblymember Lieu. "Getting your next pet from an animal shelter and caring for that pet for the rest of its life will reduce the burden on our communities' shelters and save lives."

By assisting animal shelters in promoting "Adopt a Shelter Pet Month," Californians can reduce euthanasia while providing lifetime homes for quality shelter pets.

"Adopting a shelter pet not only saves the lives of potentially great companions, it also helps reduce the amount of money taxpayers currently spend to shelter abandoned pets," said Assemblymember Smyth. "Designating September as 'Adopt a Shelter Pet Month' is a great way to raise awareness about shelter overpopulation and the resulting costs as well as encourage Californians to welcome a shelter pet into their homes."

Earlier this year, Smyth introduced AB 233 to provide a tax deduction for the cost of fees paid for adopting shelter animals. The HSUS sponsored AB 233, and hopes it will advance during the second half of the current legislative session.

In late September, the Ad Council, The HSUS and Maddie's Fund, in partnership with the entire animal welfare movement, will launch the "Shelter Pet Project," the first national public service advertising campaign to promote shelter pet adoption. The goal of the ad campaign is to encourage pet lovers throughout the country to make shelters their first choice for acquiring companion animals, and to let them know that shelter pets are good pets who ended up there through no fault of their own. More information is available at theshelterpetproject.org.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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