Assemblymember Marie Waldron
Ensuring the well-being of all animals is one of my big priorities. Over the years, I have introduced and supported bills that provide funding to care for native wildlife, protect wild horses and burros, limit unnecessary animal testing and many more.
This session, I introduced AB 829, which is currently pending in the Legislature. AB 829 expands counseling requirements for those on probation for animal cruelty, and gives judges discretion to order mental health evaluations based on trial evidence. Given established correlations between animal abuse, child abuse, domestic violence and other crimes, this bill will go a long way toward reducing crimes and recidivism, as well as cruelty to animals. AB 829 passed the Assembly unanimously and is progressing in the Senate.
I’m also supporting AB 1399, which expands the authority of veterinarians to provide animal care via online telehealth. Given the shortage of veterinary doctors and staff, telehealth is an effective way to provide veterinary care, though it cannot replace the need for office visits in many situations. AB 1399, also pending in the Senate, is supported by the San Diego Humane Society and the ASPCA.
While these measures will help protect animals going forward, we have a new problem that only immediate action by the public can solve. Nationwide and locally, animal shelters have record numbers of pets on-hand that need forever homes.
The San Diego Humane Society has been over capacity for months, and as of early August is at 175% capacity for dogs and 176% for cats. They’ve also been forced to send hundreds of small pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters to less crowded shelters in Arizona. To help alleviate the crisis, adoption fees have been reduced by 50%. If you’d like to volunteer or to adopt or foster a pet, please visit https://www.sdhumane.org/support-us/volunteer/.
Shelters run by San Diego County Animal Services are also overcrowded. To “Clear the Shelters,” the county is waiving their usual adoption fees during August at shelters in Bonita and Carlsbad. If you’re interested, please visit https://www.sddac.com/.
Animal welfare is everyone’s business. We can all get involved in ways that will protect animals and enhance our own lives.