Legislature Rejects CA Gov. Brown Plan to Repeal Hayden Law

Update April 15, 2012: For now, Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to repeal portions of Hayden Law have been rejected. The Senate Budget Subcommittee followed the earlier vote of an Assembly budget subcommittee and rejected the repeal. Portions of the law will, however, remain unfunded as they have since 2009. For more on this, read Animal Law Coalition’s earlier reports below.  

Update March 14, 2012: A budget subcommittee in the California Assembly has voted unanimously to reject a plan by Gov. Jerry Brown to repeal portions of Hayden Law.

Marla Tauscher, a California attorney who has led the fight to stop repeal of Hayden Law, explained, ""In short, the subcommittee was not in favor of repeal of the provisions of the Hayden Law.  They did, however, discuss the need to have the issue resolved in policy committees rather than budget committees, rather than considering suspension year after year.  They figure it’s time to come up with a policy solution that will include a funding mechanism and that going backwards is not a good idea." 

On April 11, the Senate Budget Subcommittee 2 will consider the plan. 

For more on this and what else you can do to save Hayden Law, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below. 

Update February 25, 2012: California attorney Marla Tauscher has presented Gov. Jerry Brown with nearly 50,000 signatures of Californians opposed to his plan to repeal large portions of Hayden Law. Go here for more from Ms. Tauscher on the plan …...   For more on this, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below. 

Original report: California Governor Jerry Brown intends to seek the repeal of those provisions of Hayden Law found to be "reimbursable state mandates." This from Jeff Carosone, an analyst in the state Department of Finance assigned to  the Governor’s proposed budget. Carasone referred to the 2001 Statement of Decision (http://www.csm.ca.gov/sodscan/98tc11sod.pdf) and the 2006 Adoption of Parameters and Guidelines (http://www.csm.ca.gov/sodscan/203.pdf).

Hayden Law 

The Hayden Law
consists of a number of laws introduced by then state Sen. Tom Hayden and passed in 1998 as one bill. The purpose of Hayden Law was to reduce shelter euthanasia rates throughout the state, encourage
owner redemption and adoptions and improve the treatment of animals. In passing
this law, the state proposed to end the euthanasia of adoptable and treatable
animals by 2010. Civil Code § 1834.4. CA Food & Agr. Code §17005, CA Penal
Code §599d.

To that end, under the law shelters are generally required to hold dogs, cats,
rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pot-bellied pigs, birds, lizards, snakes,
turtles, or tortoises for 6 business days before euthanizing them. A smaller
shelter that has made the animals available by appointment or one that has been
open for redemption or adoption one evening or one weekend day, is  required to hold them for 4 business days. CA Food & Agr. Code §§ 31108,
31752, 31753.

The Hayden Law also mandates that instead of killing stray animals, public
shelters or agencies must release them to any 501c(3) non-profit group that
requests them. CA Food & Agr. Code §31752

Shelters must take steps to verify whether a cat is actually feral or
simply frightened. If a cat is determined by a standard protocol to be feral,
it may be euthanized after 3 days unless there is a request from a 501c(3)
non-profit group to take it. CA Food & Agr. Code §31752.5.

Under the Hayden Law shelters are required to assist owners in finding or
placing lost animals by: (1) allowing people the ability to list the animals
they have lost or found on "Lost and Found" lists maintained by the
pound or shelter; (2) referring them to animals listed that may be the animals
the owners or finders have lost or found; (3) providing people with the
telephone numbers and addresses of other pounds and shelters in the same
vicinity, (4) advising as to means of publishing and disseminating information
regarding lost animals, and (5) providing the telephone numbers and addresses
of volunteer groups that may be of assistance in locating lost animals. CA Food
& Agr. Code §32001

Recordkeeping is also an important component of the Hayden Law. The records
must include (a) the date the animal was taken up, medically treated,
euthanized, or impounded; (b) the circumstances under which the animal was
taken up, medically treated, euthanized, or impounded; (c) the names of the
personnel who took up, medically treated, euthanized, or impounded the animal;
(d) a description of any medical treatment provided to the animal and the name
of the veterinarian of record, and (e) the final disposition of the animal,
including the name of the person who euthanized the animal or the name and
address of the adopting party. These records must be maintained for three years
after the last date of the animal’s impoundment. CA Food & Agr. Code §32003

Other provisions of the Hayden Law require humane care and treatment of animals
held by shelters including necessary veterinary care.        

The provisions subject to repeal are found here.   Shelters will no longer be required to provide "necessary and prompt veterinary care". CA Civil Code Sec. 1834, 1846. The holding period for dogs and cats will be reduced to 72 hours. Seriously injured or ill cats or newborns unable to feed themselves could be euthanized immediately. There would no longer be a requirement for shelter staff to verify a cat is truly feral and not simply frightened or just difficult. Cats that are simply feral could be euthanized immediately or given to a 501c3 rescue. Tame cats that are frightened or difficult would be required to be held for the 72 hour hold period. There would no longer be a holding period required for rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pot bellied pigs, turtles, birds, snakes or lizards.

Though dogs and cats would still be required to be scanned for microchips and reasonable efforts made to contact owners, the additional steps now required to find owners for lost animals would become optional under the proposed amendments. The recordkeeping requirements that enables the public to determine intake, veterinary care, euthanasia and placement of animals in public shelters would be repealed entirely.

These provisions have all been suspended since July, 2009 and not funded in the budget since that time. 


Contact Governor Jerry Brown, and tell him you OPPOSE the repeal of these portions of Hayden Law. Animals in California’s shelters continue to be killed at rates that far outpace the rates of adoption. The public policy preference of California continues to be favoring life over death, and thus the adoption, rather than killing, of shelter animals. PLEASE be polite.

CALL Gov. Brown at (916) 445-2841 (9 am to 5 pm)

FAX your letter of opposition to repeal of these provisions to Gov. Brown at (916) 558-3177
EMAIL Gov. Brown’s office at http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php (choose BUDGET as subject).

POST to Gov. Brown’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jerrybrown
TWEET to Gov. Brown’s Twitter page at @JerryBrownGov