SHARECOMMENTMORE

SACRAMENTO, CA (AP) - Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that authors say will relieve animal shelter overcrowding, preserve evidence for court cases and protect pets from being returned to abusive owners.

Brown announced Wednesday he had signed SB1500 by Sen. Ted W. Lieu, D-Torrance.

The measure will speed up reviews in neglect, cruelty or hoarding cases to determine if seized animals should be forfeited by owners before cases are resolved.

If forfeited, they can be immediately placed and it will free up shelter space. That will save lives because incoming stray and abandoned animals won't be euthanized for lack of room. It will also reduce food, care and vet costs for shelters.

Authorities must still return seized animals to owners if those animals are fit and owners will provide necessary care.