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Pet Sterilization Bill.JPGAn immense outpouring of opposition from dog and cat owners had an impact today when the Assembly rejected a bill aimed at forcing more pet sterilizations as an alternative to euthanizing hundreds of thousands of strays.

Legislators' office had been inundated with protests, as several mentioned during the emotion-tinged floor debate that preceded the vote on Senate Bill 250. The measure, which had already passed the Senate, garnered just 33 votes, eight short of the required margin, even after several hours of effort by backers to change minds.

Most Republicans opposed the measure and Democrats split. Forty Assembly members wound up voting against the bill, carried by Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter.

Florez and other supporters contended that taxpayers are footing a quarter-billion-dollar bill each year for rounding up and euthanizing a million strays. His bill would have required pet owners to license their animals and, with few exceptions, to have them sterilized.

But opponents in and out of the Legislature maintained that the decision on whether to spay or neuter should be left to pet owners, raising the specter that those who refused would be hit with fines. Opposition was especially heavy in rural areas.

PHOTO CREDIT: Laurie Walker, gets a lick from her Chinese Crusted dog, Wednesday, July 11, 2007, on the west steps of the Capitol in Sacramento after AB 1634 was moved for a vote to January. The bill would require owners to spay and neuter their animals or face a fine of $500. (Sacramento Bee file photo, Hector Amezcua)


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