American Sporting Dog Alliance
SACRAMENTO, CA – Controversial spay/neuter legislation is expected to advance to a vote of the California State Senate shortly after it reconvenes August 4, a spokesman for its sponsor, Rep. Lloyd Levine, told the American Sporting Dog Alliance Tuesday. The Senate adjourned Monday for summer recess without acting on AB 1634.
The legislation would turn everyone into a dog and cat law vigilante, while denying dog owners the right to prove their innocence in a court of law or to an appeal. This bill provides for civil penalties based solely on an accusation by an animal control officer following a complaint from any person, or simply based on the officer’s opinion, and a third offense mandates spaying or neutering a dog or cat that is accused of being in violation of any animal law.
We are urging all California dog owners to personally contact their senator before the Legislature reconvenes August 4. Most senators will be spending much of the summer working out of their district offices, which makes personal contacts much easier for constituents. In addition to personal contacts, we are urging dog owners to send letters opposing AB 1634 to their senator by USPS surface mail. Links to contact information are provided below.
Now is the time to act and also to encourage your friends who own dogs to get involved. It is “do or die” time for California dog owners.
AB 1634 remains in the Senate Appropriations Committee, but Levine Aide Zak Meyer-Krings said that Chairman Tom Torlakson decided to forgo a committee hearing because he doesn’t think there will be a significant cost to the state budget. Hearing are required only if there is a fiscal impact to the state.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance believes there will be a significant cost to the state budget, and also to counties and municipalities in the form of a de facto unfunded mandate. Animal control agencies already are inadequately funded and understaffed, and the expected sharp increase in complaints will require hiring additional officers and support staff. Additionally, spay/neuter mandates have been proven to cause an increase in pet abandonment and higher animal shelter populations.
Waiving the requirement for a committee hearing means that AB 1634 will be sent to the full Senate for a vote shortly after it reconvenes Aug. 4, Meyer-Krings said.
The deadline for passage is midnight Aug. 31, which is when the 2007-2008 legislative session officially ends. All legislation must either be approved by that deadline, or start from scratch in January.
However, Aug. 31 falls on a Sunday, and it is expected that the Legislature will try to end the session on Friday, Aug. 29, although weekend sessions remain a possibility. To be approved this year, the Senate must act in time for the House to concur with amendments prior to the deadline.
AB 1634 was amended Monday to address concerns of animal control agencies about required rabies law reporting of animal shelter statistics, but there were no amendments to address the concerns of dog owners. The amendment strikes out a provision that would have withheld state funds from animal control programs that fail to report shelter statistics to the state.
Meyer-Krings said there might be a few other “tweaks” to the legislation to reflect the concerns of animal control agencies, but he said Levine is not inclined to compromise on the issues that could result in the forced sterilization of thousands of dogs in California. Levine is a strong supporter of universal pet sterilization.
The legislation empowers animal control officers to cite a dog owner for an alleged violation of any law or ordinance related to animals. A similar provision also applies to cats.
A dog owner would not have any way to fight the citation, and an animal control officer essentially would become judge, jury and hangman. Moreover, there would be no appeal. A citation based on the opinion of the animal control officer would carry the weight of a guilty verdict.
Civil penalties would be mandatory for any citation. They are:
· A $50 fine for the first offense.
· A $100 fine for the second offense.
· And Mandatory spaying or neutering for the third offense.
If the owner does not comply, an animal can be confiscated by animal control officers.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance believes that this law will be used by extreme animal rights groups to force the sterilization of thousands of purebred dogs, based on unsubstantiated allegations. We also believe it will be used as a weapon in squabbles between neighbors.
A tactic of some animal liberation groups is to steal dogs from private kennels and turn them loose, often removing collars and license tags, and thus creating an apparent violation of leash and licensing laws. This tactic has focused most intensely on breeds of dogs used for hunting, as these groups oppose both the private ownership of dogs and hunting. Hobby breeders also will be a major target of complaints.
This legislation opens the door to harassment of dog owners if animal rights activists observe anything that they don’t like, such as a dog that is housed in an outdoor kennel.
This issue is intensified because Humane Society officers who investigate animal cruelty allegations also are empowered to enforce this legislation if it becomes law. Many of these enforcement officers work for private agencies that have a strong bias toward the animal rights agenda.
This legislation is a wholesale desecration of every American’s constitutional right of due process under the law. Accusations do not have to be proven. There is no opportunity to defend oneself. There is no appeal. This legislation imposes the legal system of a totalitarian state on every Californian. This legislation is far more oppressive than the legal systems in Communist China or Iran. An accused person would receive more justice from the Taliban than the State of California, if AB 1634 passes into law.
Before contacting senators, it is important to become familiar with the legislation. Many senators have not read the bill for themselves, and are relying upon biased and inaccurate summaries from party leadership. Please study our objections above, and read the bill for yourself: http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_1601-1650/ab_1634_bill…. Prepare a short summary of your objections prior to phoning or visiting a senator’s office.
The major issue is to ask for the removal of all sections that allow complaints and citations to lead to civil penalties, without giving the accused person the chance to face a court of law or to appeal. These provisions are a complete perversion of the American system of justice.
This link will give each senator’s mailing address and district office address: http://www.senate.ca.gov/~newsen/senators/senators.htp. You can find your senator from this list, simply by clicking on the correct name. You also can search for the name of your senator by using your address.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, hobby breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life. Please visit us on the web at http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org. Our email is ASDA@csonline.net. Complete directions to join by mail or online are found at the bottom left of each page.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by the donations of our members, and maintain strict independence.
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