California's 'Dog and Cat Bill of Rights' one step closer to reality

California's proposed "Dog and Cat Bill of Rights" continues to move forward.

Lawmakers on Wednesday announced the bill advanced through the Business and Professions key policy committee.

"I would like to thank Chair Berman and the committee for acknowledging the importance of protecting and caring for our dogs and cats to ensure they are not only loved but respected," said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, who introduced the bill in February. "Our pets rely on us for everything from food to exercise and healthcare. It is vital to inform potential adopters of the many responsibilities that come with the adoption of a dog or cat before adoption so all dogs and cats are protected."

RELATED: California lawmaker introduces 'Dog and Cat Bill of Rights'

Santiago says it’s remarkable how many people got pets during the pandemic, have now unloaded them at shelters and weren’t really good caretakers of them. 

That’s why he thinks a Dog and Cat Bill of Rights is needed. There are seven rights.

  1. They have the right to be free from exploitation, cruelty, neglect and abuse
  2. The right to a life of comfort free of anxiety
  3. The right to daily mental stimulation and appropriate exercise
  4. The right to nutritious food and sanitary water and shelter
  5. The right to preventative and therapeutic health care
  6. The right to be properly identified through tags, microchips or other humane means
  7. And, the right to be spayed and neutered to prevent unwanted litters

The legislation states that the Dog and Cat Bill of Rights must be posted in shelters and adoption agencies to help educate the public and the people that want to adopt. But, if they’re not posted the first violation is a warning; the second, third and so on carry a fine of $250 each time it's not posted.

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"The goal of this bill is to educate potential adopters of these important needs to help minimize future relinquishments," said Judie Mancuso, Founder and President of Social Compassion in Legislation, sponsor of the bill. "Not only are relinquishments tragic for both the animal and the family, but they also cost taxpayers money to rehome or euthanize the animal."

The bill is expected to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in May.

If the bill makes it through all the committees and votes, it could be law by January 2023.