June 25th, 2004


Schwarzenegger Seeks to Lessen Penalties for Animal Abuse

93, all:

No, I'm not kidding...and as an animal lover, find this important enough to note here. Please feel free to repost without credit.  :)

You've probably already heard part of this story -- that California's sole statewide Republican officeholder, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is supporting a plan to speed up the killing of strays in California animal shelters -- but you may have missed the worst part. It's more than just saving a few dollars by putting more animals to death: it also involves ending some important penalties for animal cruelty (details below).

Under Schwarzenegger's plan*, California shelters would only have to hold stray cats and dogs for three days before they could be killed; all other animals (than cats and dogs -- birds, for example) could be killed immediately; and shelters would no longer be required to look for the embedded microchips put in some pets to ensure their safe return. Worse yet, the "three day limit" would apply even if the shelter was closed for some, or even all, of those three days (i.e., it's three days total, not three business days).

Under current California law, written by Tom Hayden (Dem.), all animals must be kept up to six days before being killed, and L.A. Mayor James K. Hahn (Dem.) had announced a plan to end all animal killings in L.A. shelters by 2008.

But Schwarzenegger's plan goes further. Currently, those convicted of animal cruelty are forbidden to own pets for three years after their conviction, and must pay the medical bills of the animals they harmed. Incredibly, Schwarzenegger's plan would revoke these penalties. While some will try to defend his slashing the animal-protection time in shelters on budgetary grounds, this latter proposal would actually cost taxpayers money, by forcing the taxpayer -- instead of the abuser -- to foot the medical bills for the animals he abused...and help him to get more animals to abuse right away, since there'd no longer be a three year no-pets rule for such abusers.

This being California, I am virtually certain that this plan will be stopped; thankfully we still have a Democrat-heavy state legislature, and anyway, the publicity will be godawful. I suspect in no time, Ah-nold will be claiming he had nooo idea this happened, doesn't support it, and has ordered it stopped.

Now that people have heard about it.

(But, man, what the hell were they thinking? Does Ah-nold have serious money coming in from Geraldo Satanists?  :/  )

On the other hand, maybe I'm wrong, and Schwarzenegger's plan will go into effect. If so, better keep a close eye on your California pets, hunh? -- particularly on them three-day weekends, when the shelters are open for impound, but closed to you?

93 93/93 -- AJ

*Los Angeles Times (6/25/04), page A1.