Sacramento, Calif. -- Bipartisan support in the California Legislature was not enough to save two animal-welfare laws from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto.
-- Bipartisan support in the California Legislature was not enough to save two animal-welfare laws from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto.
Schwarzenegger argues the bills' potential impact on Californians working in the animal industry went too far and tied judges’ hands unnecessarily.
Assembly Bill 241, which hit the chopping block first, would have made a misdemeanor crime out of ownership of more than 50 unsterilized adult dogs or cats. The governor said the “arbitrary cap” would criminalize the lawful activities of reputable breeders, pet stores, kennels and charitable organizations engaged in raising service and assistance dogs.
Another bill, AB 243, would have forbidden those convicted of misdemeanor or felony animal cruelty to care for or own animals for five years or 10 years, respectively. However, judges already can order such injunctions as necessary, Schwarzenegger said. “Making this order mandatory could unjustly impact individuals who make a living working with or caring for animals,” he wrote.
California Assembly member Pedro Nava (D) introduced both bills in February and organized a news conference Oct. 1 urging the governor’s signature. Nava noted recent puppy-mill, dogfighting and animal-abuse cases across the country and said “California must take the lead in setting an example.”
Another of Nava's three animal-related bills, AB 242, is still under consideration. It would increase penalties for spectators at dog fights.