Saturday, May 9, 2009

Local animal control leader testifies in support of new measure

The head of Santa Cruz County's animal control agency testified before a state Senate panel last week in favor of a measure that would strengthen the state's spay and neuter law.

Henry Brzezinski, general manager of the Animal Services Authority, told lawmakers that Senate Bill 250 would help California control its overpopulation of cats and dogs just as the county's spay-and-neuter ordinance has done here. Brzezinski said the county shelter has cut euthanasia of dogs and cats more than 70 percent since the local law requiring owners to buy certificates for unaltered cats and dogs was passed in 1994.

"Shelters across California and the nation are just overwhelmed by cats because they are such prolific breeders," Brzezinski said in an interview after his testimony before the Local Government Committee, which passed the measure. "We already have something in place. This bill will take it a step further."

The bill, which now moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee, seeks to reduce the death rate among the 1 million-plus cats and dogs kept in shelters statewide each year. Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, who is sponsoring the bill, says about half of those animals are euthanized, costing taxpayers $250 million.

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