Will somebody provide a link to the legislation rather than just commentary on what it means? Let us read for ourselves and decide without the propaganda. The latest official link by the state to the ballow measure is dated in May, 2009, and that was already heavily amended. We have no idea what the current bill looks like. All that I see are websites pro and con giving their interpretations.
From Judie Mancuso:
Feral cats - what does SB 250 mean?
Dear Cat friends:
There has been some confusion for my fellow cat loving friends who care for feral cats. I’d like to address some misinformation that is out there:
1) Misinformation: “The bill targets people who care for stray and feral cats. If a caregiver were unable to trap and neuter a cat, the bill would label her a lawbreaker. Cat caregivers should be encouraged, not threatened with violating the law.”
The truth is: First of all, under the CA Penal code 597.1 (current law) someone who is taking care of stray or feral cats can ALREADY be cited. Animal Control, if they wanted to, can ALREADY round up the cats and take them in and euthanize them. But please note, we do not want to see cats rounded up and euthanized ever! SB 250 does NOT allow seizure of animals because they are not spayed and neutered. SB 250 simply requires that roaming cats be spayed and neutered by their owner/guardian.
More importantly, SB 250 affects ONLY CATS THAT YOU OWN. And the only way that you “OWN” a cat under California law is if the cat lives on your property and you feed it on your property for more than 30 days in a row.
SB 250 says that in this case, you should be spaying and neutering cats you care for, or keeping them indoors. This is entirely reasonable and if someone is feeding a colony of stray cats on their property, then as a responsible feral cat caregiver they should be attempting to get the cats altered so they stop reproducing and enlarging the colony. But in no way does SB 250 provide the ability for animal control to come on to your property. If animal control gets a complaint that you have “nuisance” animals on your property, they can ALREADY cite you under California law, and can ALREADY remove the animals if you claim they are not yours.
Here are some heartbreaking statistics about unwanted cats for you from the California State Dept of Public Health. These numbers are only the reported numbers for the state, and are conservative since some jurisdictions only partially reported and some jurisdictions did not report at all:
- Year 2008, cats entering shelters: 409,317
- Year 2008, cats euthanized in shelters: 270,756
- Other dead cats collected: 56,898
This brings the total of dead cats for 2008 to 327,654.
People feeding stray cats on their own property, and not attempting to sterilize the animals, actually contributes to the problem by causing more and more cats to be born? SB 250 does not in any way affect the vast majority of responsible feral cat caregivers, who take care of animals that are NOT on their own property.
We need all the tools in the tool chest to reverse this horrific situation. We must ask cat owners or their guardians to take responsibility for the cats in their care on their property – this is common sense. Spay and neuter is just as important as food for these animals.
2) Misinformation: “Because it discourages feral cat care, the bill could actually send more feral cats to pounds and shelters. Feral cats are not adoption candidates, so being sent to a shelter is a death sentence.”
The truth is: The first sentence in the statement is just flat-out false. SB 250 pertains to an owner or guardian. A guardian is legally defined as someone feeding a cat on their own property for over 30 days. So if you have a feral colony in YOUR BACKYARD, yes it will pertain to you, and you should ALREADY by trying to sterilize those cats so that the colony does not grow. But if you are a feral cat caretaker of a colony on private property or public property (a park, a harbor, etc.), it does NOT pertain to you at all… no way. And if someone tells you it does they are lying to you.
Part two of the statement is misleading. Tragically, the vast majority of cats that end up in a shelter are killed, not just feral cats. The number of unwanted cats is astronomical, resulting in 327,654 "official" cats deaths last year, with many more unreported. SB 250 will finally start reducing (not increasing) the number of unwanted cats entering shelters, just as similar laws have done everywhere they are implemented. How can a bill that does not apply to feral cat caregivers, does not allow animal control to seize an animal and requires roaming cats to be spayed and neutered to prevent litters of unwanted cats ever cause more cats to go into shelters? The answer - it doesn't.
3) Misinformation: “The burden of the bill falls heavily on lower-income cat owners. A recent peer-reviewed study found that among lower-income owners of intact pet cats, cost was one of the main obstacles to spaying and neutering. But the bill does nothing to lower the cost or expand the availability of spay/neuter services.”
The truth is: Low-income cat owners will never be financially burdened by SB 250 because if their cats are unaltered, they simply must be kept indoors to prevent litters of unwanted cats. This costs nothing to the owner. For those who understand the importance of spaying and neutering for their cats’ health and to reduce the population of unwanted cats but cannot afford to do so, please visit the Social Compassion website for a list of low-cost and no-cost spay and neuter services.
4) Misinformation: “According to the California Department of Finance, the bill would cause more owners to surrender their animals, increasing spending costs to state and local governments for the impoundment, care, and killing of more animals.”
This statement is really disturbing and an untrue manipulation of data. Here, some group is citing part of an analysis that was based on data from only one source: NAIA, a fur farmer / puppy mill support group. This is untrue breeder propaganda that we have been fighting against for months in Sacramento; this is misleading information that could harm the welfare of cats. Our website homepage has links to several quotes and letters from areas where these laws are successfully in effect, and they all say the same thing – these laws DO NOT IN ANY WAY result in more people surrendering animals, or higher costs.
SB 250 will reduce the number of cats killed in California, period. Everyone has to make their own informed decision about which side of this issue truly protects the health and welfare of California’s enormous unwanted cat population.
If you feed and care for feral cats, and want to see the numbers of cats euthanized in our shelters reduced, SB 250 is the best chance in years to help accomplish that goal.
For the cats,