Assemblyman Seeks Limits on Pet Euthanasia in Animal Shelters

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

CORONA (CNS) – Assemblyman Bill Essayli, R-Corona, unveiled proposed legislation Friday seeking to establish uniform guidelines on euthanasia of dogs and cats in animal shelters, in the hope of preventing “perfectly healthy, loving animals” from being put down when there’s a likelihood of them being adopted.

Essayli has introduced Assembly Bill 595, also known as “Bowie’s Law,” which would require a 72-hour public notice before any pet could be euthanized in California. In support of the bill, the assemblyman is proposing a comprehensive statewide study aimed at collecting data on the status of shelters and their euthanasia practices.

“Every adoptable pet deserves the chance to find a loving home,” Essayli said during a news briefing outside the Corona Animal Shelter Friday. “Unfortunately, far too often, perfectly healthy, loving animals are euthanized before they have a chance to be adopted. Last year, an innocent puppy named Bowie was wrongfully euthanized, and AB 595 would have prevented this tragedy from occurring.”

The puppy had been selected for adoption by a nonprofit, “Underdog Heroes Rescue,” but before volunteers could retrieve the canine, workers at a Los Angeles County animal shelter euthanized him, according to Essayli.

“Some shelters give notice, some give very little notice, and some give no notice at all,” the assemblyman said. “Bowie’s Law will end the inconsistency. Our goal is to make every shelter in the state a no-kill shelter, and the state study required by this bill will build the foundation for our mission.”

“We understand it’s a complex issue, and it’s going to take multiple strategies and partnerships, but Bowie’s Law will be a critical first step,” he said.

The Riverside County Department of Animal Services partners with multiple rescue organizations and has maintained a policy of delaying euthanasia when animals are not sick, overly aggressive or otherwise adoptable.

Agency spokesman John Welsh told City News Service last month that staff will euthanize older pets that have not been claimed, or in which potential adopters have shown no interest over a period of time, particularly when shelters approach maximum capacity.

Essayli’s bill is in the Assembly Rules Committee, awaiting assignment for further analysis.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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