California lawmaker introduces 'Dog and Cat Bill of Rights'

Angel Hernandez and his daughter Maribel like their best friend Rocky. Actually, Maribel says, "I love my dog!" And, that’s how most pet owners we spoke with at a large Encino dog park felt about their best friends.

The Dog and Cat Bill of Rights was just introduced in the California State Assembly by member and dog lover Miguel Santiago. He says it’s remarkable how many people got pets during the pandemic, have now unloaded them at shelters and weren’t really good caretakers of them. 

"In a perfect world I wouldn’t necessarily do a bill that says you have to give clean water to your dog, have nutritious food, and, by the way, you have to walk them! You can’t just leave them outside in the cold rain. That’s a perfect world and in some cases, people don’t understand what it takes to be a pet owner," said Santiago. 

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That’s why he thinks a Dog and Cat Bill of Rights is needed. There are seven rights.

  1. They have the right to be free from exploitation, cruelty, neglect and abuse
  2. The right to a life of comfort free of anxiety
  3. The right to daily mental stimulation and appropriate exercise
  4. The right to nutritious food and sanitary water and shelter
  5. The right to preventative and therapeutic health care
  6. The right to be properly identified through tags, microchips or other humane means
  7. And, the right to be spayed and neutered to prevent unwanted litters

Reaction at the dog park? Dog owner Keith Meinke said, "A lot of it is just common sense and I don’t know why you’d have to legislate common sense."

Dog owner Angel Hernandez says that’s how you're supposed to take care of pets.

The legislation states that the Dog and Cat Bill of Rights must be posted in shelters and adoption agencies to help educate the public and the people that want to adopt. But, if they’re not posted the first violation is a warning; the second, third and so on carry a fine of $250 each time it's not posted.

If the bill makes it through all of the committees and votes, it could be law by January 2023.

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