ASPCA aiming to protect abandoned animals in California through new bill

Veterinary hospitals and other animal care facilities in California may soon have more options available to them in the event an animal is abandoned while in their care.

The ASPCA has successfully navigated Assembly Bill 1810 through both houses of the California Legislature, where it was passed unanimously, and on to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown. According to the ASPCA, the legislation would remove the current state mandate requiring animal care facilities to euthanize any abandoned animals if a new home is not found within 24 days.

Assembly Bill 1810 also would enable animal care facilities to transfer abandoned animals to local shelters, which is currently prohibited by California law.

"Abandonment should not be a death sentence for animals," said Kevin O'Neill, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Western region. "Dogs and cats at spay/neuter clinics, veterinary offices, or any of California's many other care facilities should not face certain death simply because their owner fails to pick them up. It is imperative that we do all we can to ensure positive outcomes for these animals, and AB 1810 will do just that. We thank Governor Brown to take quick action on this bill to protect California's animals."

According to Assembly Bill 1810, an animal can be considered abandoned if it is left at an animal care facility for at least 14 days without anyone coming to claim it. After 14 days, the person in custody of the animal must spend no fewer than 10 days trying to place the animal in another home, or turn the animal over to a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or nonprofit animal rescue group - provided that the shelter or rescue group has been contacted and has agreed to take the animal. 

If the person in custody of the abandoned animal is unable to find a new home for it or turn it over to an appropriate animal welfare group, they can legally have the animal euthanized. And if the animal care facility has a veterinarian, the veterinarian can euthanize the animal provided they have adhered to the 24-day rule.

The bill also specifies that an abandoned animal may not be used for scientific purposes or any other type of experimentation. 

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