Wilk’s bill aimed at reducing animal shelter overcrowding passes first committee

Politics and government

News release 

Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced his bill to help reduce overcrowding at animal shelters across the state, by expanding access to low and no-cost spay/neuter services, was approved in the Senate Education Committee. 

“The severe shortage of veterinarians available to perform spay and neuter services has created an overcrowding crisis at our animal shelters, especially in the High Desert,” Wilk said in a news release. “As a result, roughly 100,000 animals are unnecessarily euthanized each year in California. As someone who has a rescue dog, it breaks my heart to see this problem get worse every year.” 

Senate Bill 1233 would establish 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 (HQHVSN) 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, the release said. 

Currently, California’s animal shelters cannot consistently provide enough spay and neuter services because it is often difficult find a veterinarian qualified 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 release said. 

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. 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. 

“Our pets are our family, and nothing feels better than seeing the joy on their face when they’re brought home. We have a responsibility to address this issue now. This bill will help increase the amount of veterinarians able to perform spay/neuter services to reduce overcrowding, bring unnecessary deaths to down to ‘zero,’ and make it easier to find homes for pets in need,” Wilk said. 

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