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ASPCA Celebrates Victory for California Animals as Governor Signs Bill Protecting Pets

Senate Bill 917 increases penalties for crimes of animal neglect; bans roadside sales of animals
July 26, 2011

NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today celebrated Governor Edmund Brown's signing of Senate Bill 917 as a victory for California's animals. Authored by Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the bill prohibits the sale of animals on streets, in parking lots and from other similar public venues, and increases the penalty for animal cruelty by neglect to up to one year of incarceration.

"S.B. 917 was one of the first animal protection bills to cross Governor Brown's desk and we applaud him for helping to protect California's animals," said Jill Buckley, senior director of Government Relations for the ASPCA. "By signing S.B. 917, Governor Brown recognizes the need to safeguard animals sold in public parking lots and roadside venues, and puppies, kittens and other pets will no longer be left to suffer in unsanitary and overcrowded cages without proper food and water."

Unregulated animal sales are not only an animal welfare problem; they pose problems for consumers and threaten public health. Many of these animals are bred and raised in poor conditions and are often sick at the time of sale. Dogs and cats sold in this manner usually are not spayed or neutered and they contribute to the pet overpopulation problem that leads to tens of thousands of homeless animals being euthanized in California each year.

The new law will also make the misdemeanor penalties for animal cruelty and animal neglect more consistent by providing a maximum sentence for up to one year in county jail for animal neglect, as well as a possible fine up to $20,000. Animal victims of neglect are often deprived of basic needs, including shelter, nutrition and medical care and neglected animals sometimes die from starvation, dehydration and disease.

Buckley added, "Criminal animal cruelty by neglect may be less obvious than the acts of torture that grab headlines, but it is more common and the abuse is more prolonged as the animal slowly suffers. California's laws did not sufficiently protect the animal victims of neglect, but Gov. Brown recognizes that failing to provide for an animal's basic needs is a terrible form of cruelty which should be taken seriously."

For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.