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Only 72 Hours to Live
Will California reduce shelter stays from 6 days to 3 to save money?
California Assemblyman Cameron Smyth has a positive idea for promoting adoption.

What is California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s problem with companion animals? Less than a year after his ill-begotten plan to close the state’s budget gap, in part, with a whopping 10 percent tax on veterinary services, he’s proposed reducing shelters’ minimum holding time for stray animals, from six days to three, before they can be euthanized.

Three days? 72 hours? What sort of chance will these animals have? How long does it take to get the word out—photos and bios on websites—in order to find a good forever home?

Aside from the terrible toll this will take in terms of lives, I wonder how practical it is from a financial perspective. I mean, isn’t that the point? Many predicted the governor’s failed veterinary tax would end up costing the state more as guardians who couldn’t afford treatment abandoned animals or surrendered them to shelters. The shorter shelter stay will most certainly drive up the number of euthanizations, which will probably cost more money or wash away any savings from reduced time limits.

Now’s the time for positive solutions, such as Assembly Bill 233, which allows Californians who adopt pets from government-run and nonprofit shelters to write off up to $100 in adoption fees. It’s a small thing, maybe, but it’s moving in the right direction.

Want to take action? Sign a petition against the shelter proposal and learn how you can support Assembly Bill 233.

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom.

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