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January 26, 2010

New Legislative Animal Protection Caucus Formed

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Humane Society of the United States applauds the formation of a new animal protection caucus for California state legislators, one of the nation's first state legislative caucuses dedicated to promoting the passage of humane legislation. The caucus, to be co-chaired by Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, and Assemblymembers Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, and Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, will seek to highlight important issues affecting animals and to educate legislators and their staff on the need for sensible animal protection legislation.

The caucus co-chairs will jointly author the annual resolution recognizing SPAY DAY 2010 in California (celebrated this year on Feb. 23) to encourage Californians to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered and to provide volunteer services and other support to organizations that provide spay and neuter services.

"California has consistently ranked first for its strong commitment to protecting animals with our laws," said The HSUS' California senior state director Jennifer Fearing. "In 2009, California legislators passed landmark bipartisan legislation to upgrade penalties for dog fighting, protect La Jolla's harbor seal habitat, prohibit the cruel and unnecessary docking of cow's tails, and increase fines for poaching of our state's wildlife. With the formation of this new caucus, we hope to build on these successes and see even more accomplishments for animals brokered in the least contentious ways possible."

This caucus is modeled off the successful Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, co-chaired by U.S. Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., and intends to sponsor nonpartisan forums and briefings, track the progress of relevant legislation, streamline communication among offices with regard to legislation, provide members with dependable information on animal welfare issues, and attempt to build broad coalitions in support of common-sense animal welfare laws.

The new animal protection caucus will kick off with a Capitol reception featuring HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle in early February.

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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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