Senators postpone bill to force dogs and cats to be sterilized |

Senators postpone bill to force dogs and cats to be sterilized

SACRAMENTO – A bill that would require most dogs and cats in California to be sterilized was sidelined Wednesday until next year after senators failed to endorse the measure.

The bill’s author, Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Sherman Oaks, opted to withdraw his proposal rather than have it fail in the Senate Local Government Committee, where most lawmakers said during a hearing Wednesday that they were unhappy with the proposal.

The decision followed months of protest from breeders, service organizations and rural governments who opposed a mandatory six-month spay and neuter mandate as a way to control the pet population.

“I think the bill engendered such extreme controversy, we needed a cool-down period,” said state Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, a member of the committee.

Levine told senators Wednesday that he would scale back the legislation so it would apply only to irresponsible pet owners – those who let their dogs or cats roam free on the street or those who violate animal welfare laws.

However, several senators said they did not want to modify the bill on such short notice and asked Levine to voluntarily withdraw his bill until January.

The legislation was crafted primarily by animal shelter workers as a way to reduce the number of unwanted animals in California. About a million dogs and cats are admitted each year to local animal shelters, with about half of them euthanized because there are not enough homes for them.

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