California’s animal shelter system is facing cutbacks because of the state’s current budget crisis. California Governer Arnold Schwarzenegger has a proposal which could cause shelters to reduce the minimum hold time for strays. This means that euthanization could happen in just three days instead of six.
It’s no surprise that animal advocates disagree with the proposal. Jennifer Fearing of the Humane Society testified at a budget committee hearing Thursday: “If shelters are no longer reimbursed by the state for holding animals, they will be forced to cut services. The ‘savings’ generated by suspending this mandate is a paltry 0.1% of the $24-billion deficit. These funds are the only state dollars that presently go to assisting local governments with the costly problem of pet overpopulation.”
The saddest part is that many animals find homes through adoptions at shelters, not to mention the many pet owners who reclaim their pets from a shelter. Shortening the time that animals can be held will obviously lead to an increase in animal deaths, including the deaths of animals who could be adoptable. With the cost of caring for the animals offset by adoption fees and owner reclaimation fees, it makes very little sense to make such a change.
The proposal has not been passed as of yet, and with animal advocacy groups working against it, it may not pass.