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Monday, 05 March 2007 23:07

Lawmaker wants to Reduce the Number of Unwanted Animals in Shelters

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A staslide23te lawmaker wants to reduce the number of unwanted animals in local shelters by requiring California pet owners to spay or neuter their dogs and cats. Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, is carrying legislation that would require dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered by four months of age, otherwise their owners could face potentially steep fines. "It's a huge problem," Levine said. "My legislation will help by turning off the spigot so to speak. It will help reduce the number of animals going in (shelters) by reducing the number of animals that are breeding," he said." Called the "California Healthy Pets Act,"
AB 1634 would provide some exemptions. Animals considered too old or unhealthy could avoid the procedure. Also pets with a registered pedigree, service dogs and dogs used by law enforcement could be excluded from the law if their owner obtained an "intact permit." Owners would have to pay a fee for the permit, but the amount of the fee is not specified in the bill. Skeptics of the bill have said the higher costs will force legitimate, law abiding breeders out of business, while creating a more lucrative market for dishonest backyard breeders. As well as the concern that spaying and neutering dogs under four months old can cause health problems in some breeds. Levine said California shelters receive more than a million unwanted pets a year, and half of those are eventually euthanized. His bill would fine dog owners who violated the law up to $500 for the offense. Proceeds would be used to help establish low-cost spay and neutering programs for Californian pet owners who could not afford the procedure.
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