Wilk’s animal shelter overcrowding bill passes second committee

Politics and government

News release  

Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced that his bill, which aims to help reduce overcrowding at animal shelters across the state by expanding access to low- and no-cost spay/neuter services, passed out of the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. 

“Overcrowding at California’s animal shelters, especially in the High Desert, has been at crisis levels for too long. Animals are being put down through no fault of their own, and we have a responsibility to do something about it,” Wilk said in a news release. “Creating a larger pool of veterinarians qualified to perform faster spay/neuter services will alleviate shelters, stop unnecessary deaths, and make it easier to find loving homes for pets in need.” 

Senate Bill 1233 establishes a framework for California’s two accredited schools of veterinary medicine at UC Davis and Western University of Health Sciences to create a first-in-the-nation High-Quality High-Volume Spay/Neuter certification program. 

HQHVSN is a minimally invasive surgical technique that allows veterinarians to perform large numbers of spay and neuter procedures at low or no-cost. 

Currently, California’s animal shelters cannot consistently provide spay and neuter services because it is often difficult for them to find a veterinarian to perform the surgery. A 2021 study from UC Davis estimated 150,000 dogs and cats go un-spayed or un-neutered in California each year. 

The overcrowding and euthanasia problem is felt deepest in the Antelope and Victor valleys. Last year, the decades-old Victor Valley Animal Protective League suspended its operations. And the two shelters in the Antelope Valley, which are run by L.A. County and were originally built to help alleviate the crisis, now have the highest rates of dog euthanasia among other county facilities. 

The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

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