The California State Assembly voted to oppose S.B. 250, the “pet responsibility act”. This bill was intended to put additional rules in place that would require mandatory spay/neuter of household pets. Although almost everybody agrees that dog and cat (and bunny, rat, hamster) populations are seriously out of hand, and that the best solution is to decrease the number of breeding pets, this bill was viewed as especially punitive for low-income pet owners and caregivers of feral cat colonies. It pretty much required animal control agencies to collect any stray animals that haven’t been “fixed” and warehouse them until collected by an owner or adopted. With the state budget problems in California, shelters are now only required to hold animals for 3 days before they’re euthanized, so these lost animals wouldn’t be around too long in many areas of the state. And it doesn’t really matter if a feral cat has been spayed or neutered, these cats are very rarely adopted. Opponents of S.B. 250, including Alley Cat Allies, are much more in favor of programs that make spay/neuter services low-cost or free, and more readily available to pet owners. And the trap-neuter-return program has proven to be a very effective way to control feral cat colonies. This bill doesn’t include support for either of these approaches. Now that it has failed, maybe a modified version that incorporates the ideas from responsible pet owners and feral cat caregivers will be brought forward.
Mellowcat’s Assembly representative Ira Ruskin voted in favor of S.B. 250. The full wrath and fury of Mellowcat is now being marshalled in opposition to Assemblyman Ruskin.