California must stop pet overpopulation crisis – Orange County Register

A large crowd came to the San Bernardino County Devore Animal Shelter, which was trying to adopt out about 200 dogs rescued by San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control in February 2015. The dogs were found in an abandoned house in Lucerne Valley. (File photo by John Valenzuela, The Sun/SCNG)

I appreciate the Register’s coverage of the unacceptable maltreatment and high kill rates at our county-run animal shelter, especially Terry Forza’s article from May 2023, “More Adult Dogs Die at OC Animal Care, Kennels are largely off limits,” and Steve Greenhut’s op-ed last week, “Animal Officials Promise Compassion, But Offer Eulogy.”

As someone who has devoted the last two decades of my life to addressing the pet overpopulation crisis in California shelters and rescues, I can attest that the pandemic has given us Years have passed.

We cannot accept the worsening shelter situation as the new normal. These animals do not have a voice. It is up to us to speak up for them.

As Mr. Greenhutt notes, the current situation is not limited to affecting the lives of animals. Morale is low and turnover among veterinarians and staff is high. Watching healthy and loving dogs and cats give up, then euthanize, is discouraging and discouraging. Whoever has a heart will be impressed.

There are alternatives to giving up. Many pet owners do not know about them. Or they follow a selfish path, abandoning a family member in a shelter and getting on with their lives.

Mr Greenhut’s proposal to lift pandemic restrictions on shelters would be a step in the right direction. With the worst of Covid behind us, shelters should make every reasonable effort to keep doors open for walk-ins and set up meet-and-greets with potential adopters.

The more unnecessary hassles individuals and families have to go through, the more they decide the bureaucracy is not worth dealing with and must turn to a breeder instead.

Which brings me to the second root of the problem: breeders and those who buy from them. As long as people continue to allow their dogs and cats to reproduce, whether out of ignorance, lack of funding for sterilization, or because they want to make money by selling puppies and kittens, pets The problem of animal overpopulation will remain serious.

When I founded my nonprofit, Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL) in 2007, California shelters were taking in over a million animals a year and euthanizing more than half of them. All this was at the expense of taxpayers.

We are working tirelessly to reduce these numbers by expanding access to spay and neuter programs and by limiting the supply of animals from commercial breeders.

The special pet license plate program we established in 2014 has generated nearly $2 million to pay for spay and neuter surgeries.

In 2017, we sponsored a bill that made California the first state in the nation to ban the sale of milled animals in pet stores (AB 485, O’Donnell).

This year, with the support of veterinarians, elected officials, rescue groups and animal lovers across the state, including Priscilla Presley, we sponsored Assembly Concurrent Resolution 86 (Cholera). It encourages a multi-pronged approach to the pet overpopulation crisis, particularly measures to facilitate the development of easily accessible high-volume spay and neuter programs.

SCIL has another major bill addressing this specific issue in the pipeline for 2024.

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