UPDATES: California’s Legislative Wins & Losses for Animals
As California’s legislative session comes to a close, we celebrate quite a few groundbreaking wins and express disappointment over several crushing losses for animals in the state.
WINS FOR ANIMALS
Great news for animal companions! Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the PET (Prohibiting Extraneous Testing) Act (SB 879) which prohibits toxicity testing on dogs and cats for pesticides, chemical substances, and other products, which often does not advance scientific research on toxicity in humans. The bill includes exemptions for tests related to products intended for use in dogs or cats, including medical treatments. SB 879 does not impact federally required testing.
“For many families, including my own, pets are beloved companions that enrich our lives every day,” said Gov. Newsom in a press release. “I’m proud to sign this legislation to advance our state’s leadership on animal welfare by ending cruel and unnecessary testing on dogs and cats, among other measures to protect the health and safety of pets in California.”
Gov. Newsom also signed the much-needed Animal Evacuation Act (AB 1648) into law to require kennel owners to create an animal natural disaster evacuation plan to receive a license or permits required to operate. This will prevent terrified animals from being left behind to die in wildfires and other catastrophic events.
The Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act (AB 2344) was also signed into law which will require Caltrans to prioritize crossing structures and barriers when building roadways. This law will decrease deadly collisions with mountain lions, black bears, deer, amphibians, and other wild animals who unknowingly attempt to cross dangerous roadways in their habitats.
Assembly Bill 1290 has established that it is now "theft" to steal someone’s cat or dog, therefore deterring individuals from taking, selling, or abusing animal companions.
Assembly Bill 2723 will also expand microchipping requirements to prevent animal cruelty and to help individuals reunite with their animal companions who have become lost or stolen.
Assembly Bill 2109 will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, to decrease interactions between great white sharks and the humans who prey upon them. It will now be unlawful to use any shark bait, shark lure, or shark chum to attract a white shark or to place these items within one nautical mile of any shoreline, pier, or jetty when a white shark is either visible or known to be present.
Senate Bill 774 is now law, which will allow unhoused individuals the ability to quickly receive the required documentation to have an emotional support dog without the mandated “30-day relationship” rule. The law will bypass this rule to allow people with emotional support dogs to stay in homeless shelters, which typically do not accept dogs, as opposed to waiting with the animals on the streets or elsewhere for 30 days until the documentation is granted.
LOSSES FOR ANIMALS
Sadly, California’s cats will continue to be subjected to agonizing declawing, or surgical claw removal procedures, for the foreseeable future. Assembly Bill 2606 aimed to ban cat declawing, and tendonectomy procedures, but did not pass the legislature to go on to the governor. Thank you for signing our alert in support of this bill! We will keep you updated on related legislation.
Sadly, Gov. Newson vetoed Assembly Bill 2146 which would have banned the non-agricultural use of harmful neonicotinoid pesticides. These pesticides contaminate soil, waterways, and habitats, and harm crucial pollinators and birds.
Assembly Bill 2382 was also vetoed by Gov. Newsom. The bill aimed to decrease light pollution, requiring all outdoor lights installed or replaced after Jan. 1 on state-owned structures or land to meet a new set of criteria that would protect animals in their natural habitats. Artificial light interferes with animal behaviors, as sunlight naturally influences their reproduction, sleep, and feeding, as well as offering protection from predators.
We applaud all of the legislators and advocates for supporting bills to protect animals and the environment. These wins for animals would not be possible without compassionate individuals like you. We look forward to campaigning for animals and their habitats in the next legislative session. Stay tuned!