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California lawmaker proposes 'Dog and Cat Bill of Rights'

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Posted at 1:03 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 13:03:35-05

A California lawmaker has introduced what he calls a "Bill of Rights" for family pets.

Assembly Bill 1881, named the "Dog and Cat Bill of Rights," aims to enumerate seven protections for pets in the state and have those rights listed in a prominent place in animals shelters.

The bill would provide the following rights to dogs and cats in California:

  • The right to freedom from exploitation, cruelty, neglect and abuse
  • The right to a life of comfort, free of fear and anxiety
  • The right to daily mental stimulation and appropriate exercise
  • The right to nutritious food, sanitary water and shelter in an appropriate and safe environment 
  • The right to preventive and therapeutic health care
  • The right to proper identification through tags, microchips or other humane means
  • The right to spaying and neutering to prevent unwanted litters

Should the bill pass, animal control agencies, animal shelters and humane societies in the state would be required to post a copy of the "Dog and Cat Bill of Rights" in a prominent place on their property. Those agencies that fail to do so would face a $250 fine.

“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, according to KTLA.

Santiago also told The Sacramento Bee that he believed the seven rights are "basic rights that all creatures should have, especially dogs and cats.”

The bill was introduced in the California Assembly earlier this month. It would need the support of both the 80-member Assembly, the 40-member State Senate, and Gov. Gavin Newsom's signature before it could become law.