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For Immediate Release: 07/31/06

Sacramento County Holds Hearing Tuesday on Animal Overpopulation Ordinance

Measure Would Reduce Out-of-Control Breeding of Cats and Dogs in Community

Sacramento, CA — The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing at 3:00pm Tuesday, August 1, on the proposed Animal Overpopulation Ordinance, a landmark measure designed to regulate out-of-control breeding of cats and dogs and to reduce the tragic number of animals killed in local shelters.

The ordinance was drafted by the Coalition to Stop Animal Overpopulation, a group that includes local animal control representatives, animal protection advocates, and animal rescuers. The measure was first presented to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors in February and, following several months of community meetings, is being brought back in amended form for action by the board.

“We listened to community concerns and made significant changes to create what we think is an even more effective tool for animal control,” said Pam Runquist, with the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, a coalition member. “We also learned that the community wants to address this problem now. There is broad consensus that we need to do something to stop the killing of 20,000 animals annually in our local shelters.”

The Animal Overpopulation Ordinance is based on a model successfully used by other California communities and throughout the United States. It establishes a higher licensing fee ($150) for unaltered cats and dogs compared to a low licensing fee ($15) for altered animals to create an incentive to spay and neuter. It includes a reduced fee ($50) for registered show animals and exemptions for feral cats, law enforcement dogs, and animals who are exempt from sterilization for medical reasons. Other provisions address the sale of animals in public places, advertising requirements, and mandatory identification of animals.

Other communities which have enacted this type of ordinance and successfully reduced euthanasia rates include the City of Los Angeles and Santa Cruz County. More recently, the city of Clearlake, Stanislaus County, and the County of Los Angeles have adopted similar ordinances.

“It’s a shame that Sacramento County has one of the worst killing rates in California, with nearly one out of every two animals entering our shelters never leaving,” said Nicole Paquette of the Animal Protection Institute, another coalition member. “Meanwhile, hundreds of unaltered cats and dogs are up for sale every day in Sacramento with the sellers taking no responsibility for the overpopulation problem. This ordinance will give animal control a tool to regulate that industry, cut down on the taxpayer cost of sheltering, and reduce the number of animals killed in our shelters.”

To view a copy of the ordinance, go to www.avar.org, the website of the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, a member of the Coalition to Stop Animal Overpopulation.

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For more information, contact:
Pam Runquist, 530-759-8106 or
Nicole Paquette, 916-622-7170

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