INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Lieu
   (Coauthor: Assembly Member Smyth)

                        AUGUST 18, 2009

   Relative to pet adoption.


   ACR 91, as amended, 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  , including dogs, cats, birds,
rabbits, and reptiles  ; 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, The annual number of dogs and cats entering
California municipal shelters increased from 725,046 in 2007 to
811,818 in 2008, according to the most recent report issued by the
State Department of Public Health on August 17, 2009; and 
   WHEREAS, Nearly half of these animals were euthanized because the
animals were not reclaimed by their owners or adopted by new owners;
   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   429,987  , 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, Many other pet animals, such as birds, rabbits, and
tortoises, have also been relinquished at alarmingly high rates to
animal shelters; 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;
   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.