Doggy Donor Bill passes Senate committee

Sen. Scott Wilk

A bill that aims to change animal-blood donation law was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Agriculture this week, according to a news release sent Tuesday.

Introduced by state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and known as the Doggy Donor Bill, Senate Bill 202 seeks to provide more flexibility to the rules on animal-blood donation in an effort to allow for more loving and humane treatment of animal blood donors, the release states.

“California faces a shortage of animal blood products and we have an opportunity today to ensure a more robust supply of blood without housing more animals in traditional animal blood donation facilities,” Wilk said in Tuesday’s release. “Human blood donors go home to their families after donating; (and) animal donors should be treated the same way. California is woefully behind the rest of the nation on this matter, which is why I introduced the Doggy Donor Bill.”

Ambiguity in existing law has led to a relatively limited regulatory scheme for animal blood banks. This has prompted the California Department of Food and Agriculture to only approve commercial licensure for closed-colony banks, which house dogs and cats for the specific purpose of taking their blood, the release states, adding, “Forty-nine other states already allow for flexibility in this matter, and this bill will bring California in line with the rest of nation.”

Animal blood banks serve an important role to California’s veterinary medical community, according to the release, but a lack of supply in recent years has led to a shortage in blood. However, the senator believes opening up the market to community-based blood banks will allow private pet owners to volunteer their animals for donation, which, in turn, would help curb the shortage.

“My heart goes out to the families who have had an animal in need of blood when none was available,” Wilk said. “With the Doggy Donor Bill, the supply of available blood will increase, it will continue to be done in a safe and regulated environment, and our donor animals will get to go home to their own loving human families at the end of the day.”

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