Thursday, June 07, 2007

Damned if we do, Damned if we don't

This blog was written by Christine Allen, our ever-diligent Legislative Affairs Director. Christine has been too busy lobbying on behalf of shelter animals to get signed up as a registered BR Blogger. We'll forgive her. We don't envy her job.

Late last night, California's proposed mandatory spay/neuter bill barely passed out of the assembly by getting the minimum required number of votes. Since the introduction of this bill, we've been excited and hopeful about the bill's intent and goals to reduce overpopulation by mandating spay and neuter of all cats and dogs with exceptions for responsible owners. CA Healthy Pets Act AB1634

Sure, the bill wasn't written perfectly and had some snags, but most bills go through amendment after amendment before getting it right and officially making it into the books. By the time the bill reached the senate, the kinks would be worked out.

Sigh. Still holding my breath.

For weeks now, we've been lobbying for better and cleaner language in the bill – both substantively and facially. And, while there have been several versions of the bill that have gone through the entire assembly process, it continues to have some serious issues that haven't been addressed. Or, even worse, have been addressed but miss the point.

Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. What started out as a potentially great law that could make a real impact is turning into a hodge-podge of words and sentences that look like English but don't make much sense.

So, now what do we do? Oppose the bill because it's still poorly drafted, even though the initial proposition was sound? Abandon the best opportunity we've seen at reducing the euthanasia rates of "adoptables" and "undesirables"? Or continue to support the bill because the initial proposition was sound, even though it's still poorly drafted? Hope for the best?

I still have a glimmer of hope that the authors are open to listening to reason, willing to fix the language, and are going to get it right before too much longer, but I'll admit that my optimism is wearing thin.

Christine Allen
Legislative Affairs Director BAD RAP

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