AB 1634, one of the most controversial bills to have been brought up for state government approval, has failed in the California Senate with a vote of 27 against and 5 for. The text of the amended bill calls for fines to be imposed on owners of dogs or cats found at large or impounded by animal control. After an owner is fined twice for a dog or once for a cat, the animal would be spayed and neutered at the owner’s expense. All fines would go toward humane education, low-cost spay-neuter programs, and expenses incurred through impounding.

The previous version of the bill called for mandatory spay/neuter of intact cats and dogs. The bill was supported and opposed by people who were genuinely concerned about animal welfare, but a portion of the opposition came from individuals and organizations that profit from animal breeding. In July 2007, AB 1634, which was then called the California Healthy Pets Act, was amended to read as follows: This bill would prohibit any person from possessing any cat or dog over the age of 6 months that has not been spayed or neutered, unless that person possesses an intact permit as defined. In June 2008, the bill dropped the title California Healthy Pets Act and was referred to only as AB 1634. The text was changed again. The updated text provides animal control officers with the ability to cite owners for having an unaltered cat or dog if the animal is the subject of a complaint or is an impound.

The co-writer of the Pets column, Judy Crumpton, expresses her deepest gratitude to Judie Mancuso for her gallant and inexhaustible work for AB 1634 California Healthy Pets Act. Mancuso is president of Social Compassion in Education and a tireless advocate for the bill and against pet overpopulation. Since the bill’s inception, Mancuso gave her all, 24/7/30! “A warrior” for the animals,” Mancuso awakened the world to the horror of pet overpopulation, which was not in the consciousness of many people. She organized AB 1634’s coalition as well as area coordinators throughout the state; Judy Crumpton worked as the Long Beach coordinator. Mancuso gained the support of many pet advocate organizations and thousands of individuals. It is a privilege to know this remarkable human being, and Judy and Kate both suspect that we have not heard the last from Judie Mancuso!

Mancuso sends out the following message to supporters:

AB 1634 Update
August 22, 2008

Thanks to the tens of thousands of pet lovers across California who helped AB 1634 make history.

In the last few days, Assembly Member Levine amended AB 1634 to mandate a discounted microchipping program, thus jeopardizing an existing revenue stream for local governments. The amended bill would also have required a complicated new animal licensing structure.

Our coalition, along with our co-sponsor the California Animal Control Directors’ Association, could not wholeheartedly support this last set of amendments, since they strayed too far from the bill’s original purpose and would have resulted in less money for our shelters. Lacking our full support, AB 1634 was brought to the Senate floor this morning but did not pass out of the Senate.

This legislative session has elevated the issue of pet overpopulation to a front and center position in Sacramento, and across the United States. Our legislative work to help reduce pet overpopulation and our support of broad spay and neuter programs will continue.

Thanks to each one of you and please check our website often as we progress in our efforts to protect California’s dogs and cats.

Warm regards,

Judie Mancuso
President, Social Compassion in Legislation

For a full text of AB 1634 in its latest form, click here.