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California Department of Public Health Reports Large Increase in Pet Euthanasia

LOS ANGELES, July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), a California-based nonprofit organization focused on reducing pet overpopulation through legislation, today reported that the total number of euthanasia of cats and dogs entering California municipal shelters increased 14.6 percent statewide - from 378,445 to 433,512 -between 2004 to 2008 based on recently released figures from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). In addition, the total yearly number of dogs and cats entering California shelters also increased 14.6 percent statewide from 729,238 to 835,642. These figures do not take into account animals in private shelters throughout the state.


"The vast majority of the dogs and cats being euthanized are healthy, adoptable, loving companions," said Judie Mancuso, SCIL founder and president. "More and more animals are ending up in California shelters and it's a moral and fiscal crisis. This increase in animals entering shelters and the subsequent tragic increase in euthanasia is a result of people abandoning their pets because of financial problems, accidental litters from unaltered pets, over-breeding of dogs and cats and stray unaltered dogs and cats reproducing."

SCIL sponsored legislation currently making its way through the California State Legislature aims to address the problem of overpopulation and subsequent euthanasia in shelters. SB 250, the Pet Responsibility Act (, authored by Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez requires that dogs be spayed or neutered unless their owner/guardian obtains an unaltered dog license when they license their animal. SB 250 also requires that roaming cats be spayed and neutered or kept indoors. AB 241, the Responsible Breeder's Act (, authored by Assemblyman Pedro Nava attempts to crack down on facilities that mass produce puppies and kittens for sale by limiting owners and breeders to a maximum of 50 unaltered animals.

Several cities and counties in California and around the country have passed spay and neuter legislation and report success in reducing shelter intake and subsequent euthanasia.

Henry Brzezinski, general manager of the Santa Cruz County Animal Services Authority, which has had spay and neuter legislation in effect since 1995, reports, "We have decreased euthanasia over 64 percent in the past 15 years while our human population has increased in that same time period." He added that in addition "the County was able to build a new shelter recently with fewer cages because of a reduction in animals needing care and we no longer euthanize for space."

In Lake County, where spay and neuter legislation was implemented in 2006, Paula Werner, with Lake County Animal Control, notes that the "Most telling sign for us about the legislation, in Clearlake which accounts for 30 percent of all strays in the County, is that animal intake is down 30 percent compared to the same time period one year ago."

Kathy Davis, interim general manager of City of Los Angeles Animal Services, where spay and neuter legislation became law in April 2008 but was not enforced until October 2008 said, "We are on track with our expectations for this ordinance. We fully expect that this aggressive spay and neuter legislation will trigger a visible decline in pet overpopulation in the city within a two to five year window."

Other areas around the country where spay and neuter laws have been enacted also show declines in intake and subsequent euthanasia. In November 2000 an amendment to the New York City administrative code went into effect requiring that all dogs and cats be spayed or neutered before redeemed by an owner from the shelter. Over the past eight years, Animal Care and Control of New York City reports a 54.6 percent reduction in euthanasia.

About Social Compassion in Legislation:

Social Compassion in Legislation is a California 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization. The organization focuses on reducing pet overpopulation through legislation.

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SOURCE Social Compassion in Legislation
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