03/05/2012 04:24 pm ET

Hayden Law: Jerry Brown Proposal To Allow Earlier Pet Euthanization Met By Angry Activists (VIDEO)

Gov. Jerry Brown has championed himself as the lone politician willing to make unpopular state budget cuts. But he may be biting off more than he can chew with his proposal to allow earlier shelter euthanization.

50,000 signatures collected on a petition were delivered to the governor on Thursday urging him to reconsider his proposal to repeal the Hayden Law, ABC reports.

The Hayden Law, passed in 1998, requires shelters to keep an animal alive for four to six days before euthanizing it.

Cities and counties typically pay for three days and, under the Hayden Law, the state reimburses them about $23 million a year to keep animals alive for up to another three days. The state suspended the law three years ago to save money, and now Brown wants to permanently repeal it as a part of his effort to reduce the state's budget deficit.

Opponents say that three days, or 72 hours, is not enough time for owners to find their lost pets. They point to the fact that owners often have to visit several shelters to find the one where their pet is housed, and, if they live in a rural neighborhood, are busy at work or are without transportation, they might not get to their pets in time.

HuffPost blogger Elayne Boosler shared one owner's story of what happened when she left her dog with a dog-sitter while she went on vacation. The dog ran away, and, even though the owner flew home the next day, by the time she found the right shelter, her dog had been euthanized.

However, Brown points to a review by the Legislative Analyst Office that found no evidence that three additional days boosted adoptions, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control director Marcia Mayeda told the Daily News that if the law is repealed, "I think what we'll do is - if it reverts back to 72 hours - then those animals that are really not adoptable, or have a very low chance of getting adopted, will be put to sleep as soon as the holding period is over, because we'll need that space for others that we feel are adoptable."

In the video below, the author of the bill, former state senator and animal activist Tom Hayden, urges Gov. Brown to think of his own dog, Sutter, before repealing the Hayden Law.