Earlier this month, a Democratic lawmaker in California introduced a “Bill of Rights” for dogs and cats.
The proposal states that it “would enact the Dog and Cat Bill of Rights, and would require every public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group to post a copy of the Dog and Cat Bill of Rights.”
“The bill would impose a civil penalty for failure to post the Dog and Cat Bill of Rights, as specified. The bill would make legislative findings and declarations in support of the Dog and Cat Bill of Rights. By imposing new duties on local public officials, the bill would create a state-mandated local program,” it added.
The act continued, “Dogs and cats have the right to be respected as sentient beings that experience complex feelings that are common among living animals while being unique to each individual animal.”
The Bill of Rights in the legislation declared:
(a) Dogs and cats have the right to be free from exploitation, cruelty, neglect, and abuse.
(b) Dogs and cats have the right to a life of comfort, free of fear and anxiety.
(c) Dogs and cats have the right to daily mental stimulation and appropriate exercise.
(d) Dogs and cats have the right to nutritious food, sanitary water, and shelter in an appropriate and safe environment.
(e) Dogs and cats have the right to preventive and therapeutic health care.
(f) Dogs and cats have the right to be properly identified through tags, microchips, or other humane means.
(g) Dogs and cats have the right to be spayed and neutered to prevent unwanted litters.
The legislation acknowledges that California law already “makes it a crime for the owner or keeper of any animal to permit an animal to be in any enclosure without proper care and attention, or to abuse or neglect an animal, as specified.”
As The Hill reported, Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) announced the bill’s introduction on February 11.
“As an owner of two dogs myself, I am proud to author the Dog and Cat Bill of Rights to help our furry friends live happier, healthier lives,” Santiago reportedly said in a statement. “Our dogs and cats deserve to be loved, and cared for, and the Dog and Cat Bill of Rights will help inform potential adopters of the care needed to create a healthy environment for their adopted pets.”
The bill is sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation, an animal advocacy organization. The group’s founder and president, Judie Mancuso, said they were grateful toward Santiago for “recognizing the need to uplift the conversation around the rights our dogs and cats deserve.”
“Those rights go beyond just food, water, and shelter. As stated in the bill, dogs and cats have the right to be respected as sentient beings that experience complex feelings that are common among living animals while being unique to each individual,” Mancuso said in a statement, per The Hill. “We’re thrilled to be codifying this into law.”