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New state bill aims to secure basic rights for dogs and cats

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A new bill, introduced by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, who represents Los Angeles’ 53rd District, is in the works to secure certain rights for pets. The Assembly Bill of 1881 is called the “Dog and Cat Bill of Rights” in an effort to promote the welfare of companion animals and combat cruelty to animals.

“Well, cruelty to animals takes very different forms. It’s direct abuse. But it’s also not looking after them well. It’s not walking them, not giving them of mental stimulation, not taking care of them,” Assemblyman Santiago said. “These are big things we need to keep in mind when buying a dog, adopting a dog, or rescuing a dog.”

AB 1881 would require the Bill of Rights to be posted on the premises of animal shelters and rescue organizations.
Here are the 7 specific rights set out in the bill.

-Dogs and cats have the right to be free from exploitation, cruelty, neglect and abuse.
-Dogs and cats have the right to a comfortable life, free from fear and anxiety.
-Dogs and cats have the right to daily mental stimulation and appropriate physical exercise.

-Dogs and cats have the right to nutritious food, clean water and shelter in an appropriate and safe environment.
-Dogs and cats have the right to preventive and therapeutic health care.
-Dogs and cats have the right to be properly identified by tags, microchips or other humane means.
-Dogs and cats have the right to be neutered and neutered to avoid unwanted litters.

“There are basic needs that are on the bill. But sadly, you’d be surprised how unaware people are of that,” said Genaro Garcia, animal rights advocate for Angel’s Rescue.

Garcia, a Pico Rivera resident, has been rescuing injured animals for nine years with his wife and said he supports the bill.

“We’ve been in a lot of situations where people don’t know the basic needs. Like just putting water in the bowls or the pet’s food,” Garcia said. “When we arrived at many homes, the dogs and cats hadn’t eaten for a few days, which is unfortunate.”

Assemblyman Santiago was also the co-author of the state law that allows a person to break a car window to save a dog in hot weather. With this new bill, Santiago said the first offense would be a warning and the second offense would result in a $250 fine. The money from the fines would be used to fund the program.

“We’re starting to see people bring their dogs back to a shelter because they don’t have time for them. We want to make sure their next family, their forever family, knows what it takes to take care of them. ‘a dog or a cat.’

The next step for the bill is to go to committee for review.

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