California Assembly Bill 1634, which would have mandated neutering dogs and cats in the state, was significantly amended and no longer requires pet sterilization.
Instead, the bill stiffens penalties for existing laws associated with unneutered dogs and cats.
Specifically, the bill would increase the fines for owners of intact cats and dogs impounded by animal control agencies from $35 to $50 for the first occurrence.
For dogs, that fine would increase from $50 to $100 for the second occurrence and require sterilizing the dog, at the owner’s expense, on the third occurrence.
Cats would need to be sterilized following the second occurrence.
The amended legislation also calls for a fine for intact animals when the owner is cited for another animal-related complaint, except for excessive noise or barking. The fines, which would be in addition to fines associated with the original complaint, would be $50 for first occurrence for cats or dogs.
Just as with the impound fines, that fine for dogs would be $100 for the second occurrence and require neutering on the third occurrence. Owners would be required to sterilize cats following the second occurrence.
The fines can be waived within 14 business days of the citation if pet owners present written proof from a licensed veterinarian that pets are fixed.
The amendment also strips the bill of its “California Healthy Pets Act” title and shifts the legislation from the Health and Safety Code to the Food and Agricultural Code.
The amended legislation has been deferred to the Senate Committee on Local Government.