California Spay/Neuter Bill Awakens After Year Of Inactivity

California Senate Bill 250, which would require spay or neuter surgery for most of the state’s dogs and cats, has moved to a third reading after being shelved as inactive for almost a year.

California Senate Bill 250, which would require spay or neuter surgery for most of the state’s dogs and cats, has moved to a third reading after being shelved as inactive for almost a year.

The bill is now poised for a final vote, although a specific date had not been set at press time.

SB 250, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, failed a third reading in September 2009 and subsequently was moved to an inactive file to be considered at a later date. The new bill status was made yesterday.

The bill calls on cat owners to spay or neuter their cats at 6 months of age if the cats are allowed to roam at large. The bill also requires the sterilization of all dogs at 6 months old unless the owner gets an unaltered dog license.

SB 250 would also require anyone who sells or adopts out an intact dog, regardless of the dog’s age, to provide the licensing agency with the name and address of the new owner within 10 days. Any existing unaltered dog’s license number and microchip number for the dog must appear on the document transferring ownership of the dog to the new owner.

In addition, the bill provides that an intact dog with a current intact license will not be required to be sterilized on a first offense: “In any case in which the owner or custodian of a dog with an unaltered dog license is cited for permitting the dog to roam at large, the license of the dog shall not be subject to revocation for a first violation, if at the time the dog roams at large the dog possesses a current license,” as specified.

Exemptions are extended “to any owner or breeder of a dog used in the business of shepherding, herding or guarding livestock, or cultivating agricultural products, to any owner or breeder of a dog used for hunting or for the purposes of field trials, or to any owner or trainer of a guide dog, signal dog, service dog, peace officer’s dog or firefighter’s dog, as defined, provided the dog is licensed, as specified, and the owner or breeder has purchased any required hunting license.”

In previous media statements, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council has said that the bill is overbroad because it puts the issue of spay/neuter in the hands of local governments with free discretion to set licensing fees and penalties.

PIJAC reaffirmed its position today with a media alert, calling the legislation “poorly crafted” and that it “imposes a one-size-fits-all ‘solution’ that penalizes responsible pet owners across the state.”

PIJAC is encouraging people to contact their state Senator and Assembly representative to “voice opposition to this radical proposal.”

To view the bill, visit www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0201-0250/sb_250_bill_20090831_amended_asm_v94.html.

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