A California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would grant cats and dogs with a bill of rights, similar to the rights and protections that the American people have.
Assembly Bill 1881, otherwise known as the “Dog and Cat Bill of Rights,” provides the pets with seven fundamental rights including freedom from exploitation, cruelty, neglect, and abuse; a life of comfort, free of fear and anxiety; preventive and therapeutic health care; and proper identification through tags, microchips, or other humane means. The bill goes beyond current legislation that makes it a crime for a person to abuse or neglect their pet.
The legislation, if it becomes law, would also require every shelter or rescue group to post the bill of rights in a conspicuous place or face a $250 fine.
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles)—who has two dogs, a Yorkshire terrier named Ewok and a German shepherd named Thor—introduced the bill earlier this month, the Sacramento Bee reports.
“Our dogs and cats deserve to be loved, and cared for, and the Dog and Cat Bill of Rights will help inform potential adopters of the care needed to create a healthy environment for their adopted pets,” Santiago said in a statement.
The “Dog and Cat Bill of Rights” was created in response to the millions of tax dollars spent every year to collect, control, and euthanize the state’s unwanted overpopulation of dogs and cats, the legislation states.
The bill is sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation, an animal advocacy group that works closely with legislators to promote the health and wellbeing of dogs and cats.
“We are so appreciative of Assemblymember Santiago for recognizing the need to uplift the conversation around the rights our dogs and cats deserve,” the organization’s founder and president, Judie Mancuso, said in a statement.
“Those rights go beyond just food, water, and shelter. As stated in the bill, dogs and cats have the right to be respected as sentient beings that experience complex feelings that are common among living animals while being unique to each individual. We’re thrilled to be codifying this into law.”
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