Those of you who live here in California, can I ask a favor? There’s a state assembly bill coming up for a hearing on April 24th (tomorrow!) that could — if it passes as written — have a destructive impact on Guide Dogs of America, and possibly other organizations like it. If you’re a puppy raiser, it might affect you as well.
We probably all agree on the importance of spaying and neutering pets so as to prevent unwanted litters, strays, abuse and abandonment. The California legislature may have the best of intentions, but Assembly Bill 1634 endangers Guide Dogs of America (the breeding department in particular) because it seeks to impose mandatory spaying and neutering of all pets four months of age who do not have a special “intact permit.”
This explanation comes from the GDA Breeding Manager:
It is extremely important that you email or fax your opposition before 4/24/07. The current bill DOES NOT make any provisions for our breeding stock. Aside from no provisions for our breeding stock there will be a $150.00 intact permit fee for all pups and dogs over four months old. Because Guide Dogs of America is the owner of these dogs we would be responsible for paying for these permits. Just for the breeding stock alone our yearly fees would be around $9,000, this does not include any of our unaltered pups. If an intact fee is not obtained there will be a $500.00 fine for each violation.
Because our breeding stock does not qualify for an intact permit this would put an end to our breeding program. At this time we have enough puppies in the program to hold the school over for about two years. After that, good luck finding quality pups.
Please send your opposition to all of these assembly members. Also, it might help to send a letter to our Governor to veto the bill if it should pass.
I followed up with her when I found a revised version of the proposed bill that seemed to cover service dogs, and she replied:
The key words are “being trained or trained as a Guide Dog.” Our breeding dogs are not being trained or trained to be Guide Dogs therefore would not qualify for an intact permit. The most unfortunate point is the extremely high licensing fees the raisers would need to pay for all pups four months and older that are not sterilized. Four months is way too young to make any decisions in regards to a pup’s future in the Guide Dog program (i.e. breeding or a future Guide Dog). In most counties the licensing fee is around $100.00 a year for intact dogs. GDA has a kennel license but it does not cover dogs that do not live on the premises.
You can see the problem. I know this is last minute, but if you have a moment to craft an e-mail today (especially if you are affiliated with a service dog org) and CC all of the following folks, that would be fantastic:
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Assemblyman Mike Eng, Chair
Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, Vice Chair
Assemblywoman Karen Bass
Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi
Assemblyman Edward P. Hernandez
Assemblywoman Shirley Horton
Assemblyman Bill Maze
Assemblyman Curren D. Price Jr.
Assemblyman Alberto Torrico