AB1634 Analysis Part One, Overview of State of California
In analyzing Assembly Bill 1634 as it was written and amended before being stalled in the California Senate Local Government Committee, we should examine all aspects of those to be affected by the bill. Since the bill is aimed at populations of dogs and cats, and their owners, we should first determine the source of dogs and cats, and who their owners are.
We should also examine the state of California, as it varies dramatically from area to area, with some locales differing drastically from others. As testimony from various areas indicated, problems affecting animals in one area were non-existent in others.
California is the most populous state in the United States of America. Most of the population can be considered to live in three major areas;1. the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area including Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County, 2. San Diego County, and 3.the Bay Area, consisting of San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Cruz County, Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Sonoma County , Marin County, And Solano County. One might also include an area of Sacramento County, as that is where the capitol resides, but geography would make it seem to be more a part of the great San Joaquin Valley, a long stretch of contiguous agricultural communities stretching from Bakersfield in the south to north of Sacramento. Driving up Interstate 5 or Hwy 99 will provide one with the linkage to so refer to this area.
AB1634 originated in Orange County, with Judie Mancuso, chief architect of the legislation, and an assistant employed as a Riverside County Animal Control Officer enlisting the ready sponsorship of L.A. metro legislator Assemblyman Lloyd Levine to shepherd it through the legislative process. The spoken purpose of this bill was to reduce the numbers of animal euthanasia performed by the various public animal shelters in the state, thereby reducing the costs to the citizens of running the shelters.
The state of California mandates the creation of public shelters in every county, for the purpose of rabies control, dangerous domestic animal control and the public control of nuisances relating to health caused by domestic pets. Every county has such a department with some being naturally larger and busier than others. The more people, the more pets and, naturally, the busier the shelters in that area..
In addition to the mandated government shelters, many private shelters exist. Many of these are local humane societies, charitable institutions funded by donations and fee from the placement of animals with adopters.
In addition to the government facilities and humane societies, many breed specific rescue organizations sponsored by breed specific dog clubs. There are also all-breed rescues for specifically purebred dogs, and many private organizations for any dog in need of rescue. Most of these private organizations are done of conscience and do not qualify for tax deductible contributions, and must scratch for funds constantly, subsisting mostly on the earnings from regular jobs of the volunteers who compose them. Most all pet adoption organizations do get adoption fees that may or may not cover the expenses of that particular dog incurred by their rescue agency.
Dogs that have conditions that require more time or money than public agencies have to expend on them are generally rescued by a private agency, paying the public animal shelter some fee , or they are euthanized. These are some of the statistics needing to be eliminated.
Other euthanasia operations are comprised of very ill or very old dogs surrendered by their owners for the very purpose of being put to sleep (pts). In general, the public agency does it cheaper than the private veterinarian-and the owner need not be there to witness. This often occurs when an escaped pet is severely injured by an automobile or in other mishaps. Voluntary surrenders for euthanasia is a privilege of the citizens and a service provided by the agencies designated. There are no statistics kept on these voluntary surrenders, inflating the total figures.
With that overview of the state and the explanation of the structure of government animal control and the civilian infrastructure, we are ready to examine the sources of the animals and people that will be affected by the passage of AB1634.
The economic issues will be discussed tomorrow. Stay tuned.
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