BILL NUMBER: ACR 91 INTRODUCED BILL TEXT INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Lieu (Coauthor: Assembly Member Smyth) AUGUST 18, 2009 Relative to pet adoption. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST ACR 91, as introduced, Lieu. Adopt a Shelter Pet Month. This measure would declare September 2009 to be Adopt a Shelter Pet Month and would encourage pet adoption and raise awareness about overpopulation in animal shelters. Fiscal committee: no. WHEREAS, This measure would declare the month of September 2009 as Adopt a Shelter Pet Month, in order to encourage pet adoption at local animal shelters and raise awareness about the strain felt by local animal shelters because of the faltering economy and an overpopulation of pet animals; and WHEREAS, In 2008, the annual number of dogs and cats entering California municipal shelters increased 14.6 percent statewide from 2004, an increase from 729,238 to 835,642; and WHEREAS, Nearly half of these animals were euthanized because the animals were not reclaimed by their owners or adopted by new owners; and WHEREAS, The State Department of Public Health reported that in 2008 the total number of euthanized cats and dogs in municipal shelters was 433,512, an already high number that did not reflect the animals that were euthanized in private shelters or rescue groups; and WHEREAS, In most instances these dogs and cats are young, healthy, and friendly animals that are euthanized simply because there are not enough good homes for them, making it more important than ever to help local animal shelters by adopting a pet; and WHEREAS, Pet ownership has been shown to promote a healthy lifestyle. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a pet can encourage better health, fitness, and mental wellness. Pets have the ability to decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels, and to reduce depression. Pets can also increase a person's physical activity and improve his or her socializing skills; and WHEREAS, Studies indicate that children who interact with pets have higher self-esteem and enhanced social skills, and can cope better with their emotions. Doctors often use pet animals for therapeutic activities with both children and adults to help them overcome traumatic events, physical handicaps, and psychological illnesses; and WHEREAS, Adopting a pet from a shelter and caring for that animal for the rest of its life is a responsible way to help California's animal population, rather than contributing to its crowding; and WHEREAS, It is important to consider the many benefits of shelter adoption before purchasing a pet from a traditional vendor. Animal shelters are nonprofits and are exclusively focused on the best interests of animals; and WHEREAS, Shelter animals are often healthier, smarter, and have better temperaments. Pets adopted at animal shelters are vaccinated and proper care information is provided at the time of adoption. Animal shelters generally provide spay and neuter services prior to adoption, which are the best ways to help reduce pet overpopulation; and WHEREAS, Animal shelters are focused on animal placement, which is why most shelters provide low-cost adoptions so that everyone can have the opportunity to bring a loving pet into his or her home; and WHEREAS, California and the nation have an enormous problem with animal overpopulation. In California alone, there are hundreds of thousands of animals in shelters needing homes. As the economy declines, more and more people are losing their homes and being left with no other option than to leave their pets at a shelter; and WHEREAS, The State of California, along with numerous cities and counties, is experiencing unprecedented budget deficits. Budget reductions have the potential to add an increased strain on local animal shelter systems, threatening the lives of thousands of animals. One consequence of our budget deficits could be a reduction in the number of days a shelter is required to hold an animal before it is euthanized, resulting in less time for adoption of healthy animals; and WHEREAS, The existing pet overpopulation problem, exacerbated by a spike in animals being turned in due to the challenging economy and a reduction in holding periods in local shelters, will negatively impact California's companion animals; and WHEREAS, Adopting a pet from a local animal shelter is one way Californians can make a difference not only in their own lives, but also in the life of an animal in need; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature declares the month of September 2009 as Adopt a Shelter Pet Month, encouraging all Californians to save a life at a local shelter; and be it further Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.