By Anna Duckworth

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Governor Jerry Brown is planning to repeal a law designed to protect shelter animals from unnecessary euthanization, but there’s a mounting effort to stop the governor.

Word that Brown wants to repeal a law mandating a four to six day waiting period before shelter animals can be euthanized isn’t sitting well with former state senator and political activist Tom Hayden.

“It is a humane issue,” said Hayden, who authored the bill in 1998, in a YouTube video posted this week.

“I urge you to look at your dog before you allow this to allow this,” said Hayden, referring to Brown’s dog Sutter.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Hayden said that the wait period gives people more time to find their lost pets, and for the adoption of animals.

Rebecca Kat with San Francisco Animal Care and Control is concerned a repeal will mean faster euthanizations at some of the state’s high volume shelters.

“The financial incentive was something that did encourage shelters to look for ways to save more lives,” said Kat.

Shelters recoup the cost of caring for animals during the wait period. It’s estimated a repeal could save $46 million per year.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (5)
  1. kc says:

    I hope that people will speak up and oppose this — emailing Jerry is very easy.

  2. ab says:

    Oh, NO NO NO! Our amazing little shelter dog was there for THREE MONTHS before we found him!
    People NEED to stop supporting high rent “Rescue” groups and GO to the animal shelters for a pet!
    People don’t often think of the shelter first when their pet goes missing. Or what if it takes several days before someone finds it and turns it in? How will you know what window of opportunity you have to get your pet back.
    Stuff like microchipping and tags and all….I’m not even certain how well that works.
    No, a week MINIMUM. Give the owner a chance then a chance for adoption….

    1. LC says:

      Rescue groups are critical to shelter animals because they take cases which have been deemed unadoptable due to medical or behavioral problems that the shelters can’t afford to accommodate. The animals that are put up for adoption by the shelter are turn-key animals. This means that the animals they offer for adoption don’t have medical or behavioral issues which would require at least some rehabitation period. The rescue groups charge more for their animals than the shelter because they put more money and time to rehabilitate an animal for its future home. Without the aid of the numerous rescue groups more animals would be euthanized without a chance at rehabilitation.

      That being said, it is critical for the shelters to have those 4-7 days waiting on an animal. It gives the pets’ owners a chance to find them before they are put down. It also gives the rescue groups a chance to evaluate animals for rehab.

      If it wasn’t for a recue group, my dog would have been put down because the shelters (public & private) considered my dog unadopable due to his shyness. I am grateful for both the shelters and rescue orgs. They save deserving animals who are products of irresponsible people.

  3. Vicki Steiner says:

    Please join us in thanking Anna Duckworth and CBS for their coverage of Governor Brown’s proposed repeal of our state’s life-saving shelter laws! Please join Sutter’s Friends at to join the movement to defeat the repeal. THANK YOU!

  4. Taimie Bryant says:

    The Hayden Law was enacted with overwhelming bipartisan support and signed into law by a Republican governor because it is fiscally responsible as well as humane. The law establishes a floor of decent sheltering, with the provision of enough time to get animals out of shelters alive instead of incurring the cost of killing them. While it is true that the state reimbursement formula allows shelters to receive reimbursement for the difference between 72 hours of holding and the 1-3 days of increased holding required by Hayden only if the animal is ultimately killed, that is because shelters have fee authority to capture costs when an animal is adopted or reunited with his/her family. Shelters are always in a better financial position when they bring in fees for adoption and owner-redemption, which avoids expenditures for killing (expenditures that are not state-reimbursed). No shelter has the financial incentive to simply hold animals and then kill them because they will recoup only a small part of all those costs from the state, and they will not have brought in revenue from adoption or owner-redemption. The Legislature (and the Republican Governor) at the time gave overwhelming bi-partisan support to the bill because it was fiscally responsible and not just the most humane way to shelter lost animals.

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