State bill a 'one-strike' law for pets?

SACRAMENTO Under the legislation approved by a State Senate panel Wednesday, dog and cat owners would be forced to spay or neuter their pet if they are also cited for certain offenses, such as allowing the animal to roam free.

Senate Majority Leader, Dean Florez, (D) Shafter, introduced SB 250 in February as a step toward reducing pet overpopulation.

The bill requires dogs six months or older to be spayed or neutered unless the owner obtains an unaltered-dog license or provides a certificate of sterility.

Cats six months or older would be spayed or neutered if the owner allows the animal to be outdoors.

The bill also requires the license number to follow the pet if the animal is sold to a new owner.

The bill says impounded animals not in compliance with the law would also be spayed or neutered by the shelter or private vet as a condition of release.

Sponsors say the bill could save $250 million in costs to house and kill homeless dogs and cats in California each year.

But PetPAC, which helped defeat a similar bill, says SB 250 will cost taxpayers millions of dollars in increased shelter and enforcement costs and would mean more animals would be killed.

The American Kennel Club opposes the bill.

The bill will be voted on by the full State Senate. It needs 21 votes out of 40 to move to the Assembly Rules Committee.

If the full California Assembly approves the bill, it could be signed into law by the governor and become effective January 1, 2010.



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