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March 14, 2012

The HSUS Applauds California Assembly Budget Subcommittee for Rejecting Repeal of Hayden Law

Following testimony from dozens of advocates and representatives of local and national animal protection groups, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 voted unanimously to reject Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to repeal important sections a 1998 law setting certain requirements for animal shelters commonly known as the “Hayden Law.”

“We are grateful to Budget Committee Chair Bob Blumenfield and Subcommittee Chair Joan Buchanan and all the subcommittee members for their thoughtful and humane leadership. The Governor’s proposed repeal would be a step backward for California’s companion animals,” said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “The committee’s response indicates they heard the concerns of the unified animal sheltering and rescue community and the tens of thousands of Californians who have contacted them about protecting the Hayden Law.”

Focus now turns to the Senate budget subcommittee’s review of the governor’s proposal. The HSUS is also working with other stakeholders to identify a long-term plan for developing sustainable funding for improved outcomes for homeless animals around the state.

A rally and press conference on the Capitol steps that preceded the hearing was led by Assembly leaders in the legislature’s animal protection caucus including co-chairs Jose Solorio, D-Anaheim and Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita. They were joined by caucus members Paul Fong, D-Cupertino and Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara in expressing their strong opposition to the governor’s proposed repeal.

The HSUS also participated in the rally coordinated with representatives from Best Friends Animal Society, State Humane Association of California, the Sacramento SPCA, the League of Humane Voters--California Chapter, Stray Cat Alliance, Social Compassion in Legislation, Butte Humane Society, Santa Cruz SPCA and Humane Society, and Pet Food Express, a San Francisco Bay area pet food and supply store, among others.

The Hayden Law was created by a 1998 bill authored by former Sen. Tom Hayden. It established California's policy that no adoptable or treatable animal be euthanized and set minimum requirements for animal shelters to carry out that policy. Many of the Hayden requirements imposed on animal shelters created a reimbursable state mandate (the "Hayden mandate"), including increasing the holding period for stray dogs and cats, providing necessary and prompt veterinary care, maintaining lost and found lists, and extending the protections afforded dogs and cats to other animals such as rabbits, birds and guinea pigs.

The Hayden mandate has been suspended since the 2009-10 budget. However, in his 2012-13 budget proposal, Gov. Brown called for permanent repeal of the Hayden mandate. There is no budgetary difference between suspension and repeal, but keeping the law on the books serves as a valuable reference for animal shelters.

A Change.org petition opposing changes to the law has garnered more than 55,000 signatures.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org

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