SACRAMENTO - Governor Jerry Brown is planning to strip the $23 million dollars given annually to California animal shelters to compensate them for holding stray or lost pets for a minimum of six days prior to euthanization.
The original law, SB1785, or "The Hayden Law", was passed in 1998 by State Senator Tom Hayden in an effort to make California shelters more accountable and provide owners of lost pets more time to recover their beloved animals.
The Hayden Law mandates that shelters hold animals four to six days before they can be killed; post lost-and-found lists for owners to locate pets; and if choosing to only hold an animal for four days, to stay open some evenings and weekends to provide owners an opportunity to pick up lost pets after business hours.
Upon word of Brown's plans to repeal the law, animal activists quickly forged a petition to keep the Hayden Law intact. According to the San Francisco Examiner, the petition gathered more than 5,200 signatures in a week.
Hayden himself has reached out to Brown, pleading with the Governor to think of his own dog (featured in much of Brown's promotional collateral) before taking an action that would likely result in death for many animals who could have possibly been rescued or reunited with their owners.
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, California Dept. of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer defended the Governor's actions, citing a 2008 report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office. The report claimed the six-day holding period does not save lives or contribute to increased adoptions, thereby costing the state an unnecessary $23 million per year.
Palmer's opponents claim the contrary, insisting their findings show longer holding periods equate less kills, more adoptions and reunite more lost pets with their families.
If the Hayden Law were repealed, shelters would be allowed to euthanize animals after a 72-hour holding period, whether or not those animals had been made available to the public for adoption.
The San Francisco Chronicle - Gov. Brown's plan on shelter law stirs backlash
The Huffington Post - Tom Hayden, Animal Activist, Urges Jerry Brown To Think Of His Dog Sutter