"Many years ago, in July, I went on a one-week vacation to NY, leaving my sweet little spaniel Dolly with a highly recommended house sitter. I told her to stay at home with my dog specifically on the 4th, as Dolly was hysterically afraid of fireworks. Instead, the sitter went to a July 4th party, got drunk, stayed over. Meanwhile my dog, driven by the noise, escaped without collar or tags. Running down the highway, she was picked up by animal control. When the sitter called me on the 5th, I flew home immediately. Though she had been lost only a day, when I finally found the right shelter, Dolly had already been killed. She was four. I never got over it." - Linda S.
Then came the "Hayden Law." SB 1785, named for its sponsor, California State Sen. Tom Hayden, became a life saver for adoptable shelter animals, and a humane and valued partner to animal rescuers and owners. It made animal shelters more accountable. It gave the public longer to find their lost animals before they were killed. It mandated more "work friendly" hours to the public for going to the shelters. It was so good, after a few years it expanded to offer owner-surrendered animals the same amount of time (four to six business days) to stay alive for adoption and rescue instead of being instantly killed.
Better and better, right? And now, worse. Gov. Jerry Brown wants to repeal the Hayden Law. Everything comes down to money, but even here, the math is wrong.
The Barbi Twins are spokespersons for the Stray Cat Alliance (SCA), and are at the forefront of humane and compassionate animal issues. I founded and run Tails of Joy, an animal rescue and advocacy organization. Here is the information we would love you to know, with the three of us talking at once:
"Governor Jerry Brown wants to revoke the Hayden Law for shelter pets in California, which currently gives 4-6 days to allow owners to find their lost pets, injured animals to receive donated medical attention, or for fostering or adoption opportunity.
You hear that? Donated medical attention. The pounds do nothing. A dog with a broken leg or pelvis lies there broken until a rescue group comes along to rescue and foot the bill. Every dog coming out of the pound is skin and bones. They give the dogs less food than Angelina Jolie eats when she's getting ready for the Oscars. It costs virtually NOTHING for the pounds to keep animals alive for a few days. The Twins say, make your own pussies joke here. We don't mind, if it helps the animals.
Brown wants to "cut costs" by killing the pets within 72 hours. This will create mass killings at shelters and agony all around. To what end? To NO end. Again, insert "end" joke here if you must. We can take it.
As SCA points out, it actually SAVES money to implement a spay/neuter program. To house, euthanize and dispose of a pet costs $250, whereas to simply fix the pet costs less than $50. Thousands of rescue groups pick up the rest, we do the hands on work out of our own pockets.
Killing without a fair chance or accountability is cruel, unethical, barbaric, and not a money saver for the state. And you all thought WE couldn't do math?
It is far cheaper and more cost effective to implement a spay/neuter program."
I personally cannot tell you how many times we rescuers put our names on animals to come to us as soon as they are eligible for release, only to find they have been senselessly killed by overzealous pound workers. Let's be frank: The "shelter" system in this country is a sham, a shame, a heartbreak and a blight on America. Independent rescuers pick up as much slack as possible, which is still never enough, and we do it with our own money. Much needs to be done. What doesn't need to be done is rolling back the one tiny bright spot that has saved so many lives and kept so many people and their children from experiencing life-changing devastation, arriving too late.
America already kills between eight and ten million adoptable dogs and cats a year. This would add incredibly and senselessly to the carnage. Jerry Brown finally perks his head up, and this is what he gives us. Governor, you are barking up the wrong tree. Hope you don't get lost and taken to the pound.
Please sign our petition to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to reconsider the Hayden Law Repeal. Sign from any state. This petition will be hand delivered to Gov. Brown by the Stray Cat Alliance:
Visit the Barbi Twins' blog for great info for a better, more humane, more compassionate life with animals:
Visit Tails of Joy, Elayne Boosler's fun and informative animal rescue and advocacy site:
Follow Elayne Boosler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ElayneBoosler