Landmark bipartisan animal shelter package passes Senate

Two bills that will increase transparency at substandard county animal shelters sailed through the Senate this week with unanimous votes and are headed to the Assembly. Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Huntington Beach) introduced the package to hold shelters accountable by publicizing their euthanasia data along with instructing veterinarians to write complete medical reports. 

“Taxpayers fund these shelters, so the public needs to see what is happening behind the scenes,” Senator Janet Nguyen said. “For example, we have a right to know euthanasia rates but information like this is difficult to obtain without a public records request. Animals have no voice, so I will be their voice by requiring transparency for their living conditions.” 

California currently has no standard for shelter data reporting. Data plays a vital role in decision-making processes for animal rescues and helps shape resource allocation, care plans, adoption and fundraising strategies. Website reporting is standard in numerous cities and counties throughout the nation, including Dallas, Texas where comprehensive data is posted on a daily basis. 

SB 1459 requires shelters in large counties to post monthly reports on their websites including numbers of intakes, outtakes, euthanasias, and other types of deaths animals endure. This passed with unanimous vote on Tuesday. Today SB 1478 passed as well with unanimous vote. The bill establishes shelter veterinarian protocol for medical chart notations on several fronts including time frames for intake examinations, controlling acute pain, treating disease and reasoning for euthanasia. 

Together, these bills create an environment where the public can compare facilities to bring pressure on substandard shelters to do better, while excellent shelters will shine.