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AB 2265 is Bad for Animals

AB 2265 Public Animal Shelters


Bill Text - AB-2265 Animals: spaying, neutering, and euthanasia. (

This bill requires spaying and neutering of animals in foster care within a specified period of time, significantly increased spay/neuter deposits, internet posting and physical signage on animals scheduled for euthanasia, and public notice of any policy, practice, or protocol that raises the potential for conflict with any aspect of the Hayden Law.

April 10, 2024


The Honorable Marc Berman

Chair, Assembly Business & Professions Committee

PO Box 942849

Sacramento, CA 94249-0023


Re: AB 2265 – Animals, Spaying, Neutering, Euthanasia - OPPOSE


Dear Chair Berman and Committee Members,


On behalf of the California Animal Welfare Association (CalAnimals), representing more than 260 animal care and control agencies, SPCAs, humane societies, and other animal welfare organizations across the state, and joined specifically on this letter by 107 organizations, we are asking you to OPPOSE AB 2265 (McCarty).


Shelters in California are in crisis, with many facing extreme overcrowding, higher intake, longer lengths of stay, and lower reclaim and adoption rates. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire animal welfare sector has faced a wave of related and compounding difficulties. Shelters are receiving more animals than our facilities are designed for, making it harder to manage the spread of contagious diseases and putting immense stress on staff and the animals. Rescue partners are transferring fewer animals as they experience the same challenges and this means that shelters are faced with making more difficult decisions, and in some areas, euthanasia is rising.


Now, more than ever, we need our partners in animal welfare pulling together to take a closer look at why – and that includes examining all of the factors contributing to root causes of why so many animals are ending up in the shelter in the first place.  That’s the only way we’ll collectively apply the right programs, policy interventions, and support for the shelters receiving more animals than they can re-home.


Government and contracted animal shelter staff use their best discretion to provide the highest level of care their resources allow. AB 2265 tries to fix today’s issues by assuming the overcrowding in shelters and increase in euthanasia is due to a problem within the sheltering system itself. While we are not claiming that every shelter is operationally perfect, what we are seeing today is a product of the environment outside of the shelters. Inflation, housing insecurity, a lack of pet-friendly housing, breed discrimination from insurance companies, and inaccessible or costly veterinary care are forcing families to make difficult decisions regarding their ability to keep pets. As a result, shelters are seeing overwhelming numbers of unwanted animals come through their doors. 


We know that animal lovers in California are frustrated seeing us struggle and we are working with a number of authors and bill sponsors this year to address some of the core themes that have surfaced including internal factors like operational transparency and external factors like soaring pet care costs, housing availability and pet restrictions, and a critical shortage of veterinary access in nearly every community. We understand what the proponents and author of AB 2265 are trying to accomplish, unfortunately, this bill will only exacerbate the difficulties facing shelters in nearly every imaginable way and will ultimately lead to even worse overcrowding and tragic outcomes both in and out of shelters. 


Public Safety


AB 2265 strips away a shelter's ability to make critical decisions in the best interest of animal welfare and public safety. This bill removes important industry-recognized definitions like adoptable and treatable and redefines state policy to say all animals should be released for adoption or rescue transfer except those suffering from the most extreme health or behavioral afflictions. Under AB 2265, to humanely euthanize for behavior, a dog must be declared under a rarely used state law on vicious dogs. Setting aside the fact that most municipalities rely instead on more comprehensive local ordinances for their designations of dangerous or vicious dogs, this provision ignores that, as with people, behavior is a spectrum.


There are many factors that go into making humane euthanasia decisions for behavior. A dog can have a multitude of dispositions that alone would not equate dangerous or vicious, but combined, would make placement in a home and community unsafe.


Further, it appears to only apply to dogs with an owner.  If a shelter dog attacks another animal, volunteer, visitor, or staff, humane euthanasia decisions are made without a declaration hearing. Shelter staff routinely and expertly balance decisions in both the best interest of animal welfare and public safety. Policies that demand the release of dangerous animals only serve to erode the public’s trust, their safety, and their interest in adopting shelter animals.


Foster Programs


Foster programs are the lifeblood of shelters. They are safe environments for animals to be housed that increases shelter capacity and decreases animal stress and mental and physical decline. Foster programs are utilized to support young animals who aren’t old enough for surgery, provide a loving home for animals recovering from a medical condition, extend shelter capacity to reduce overcrowding, or allow a soon-to-be-adopted animal to start living and bonding with their new family while they await their spay or neuter appointment. The caregiver may have the animal for short or long-term assignments. While in foster care, the animal is still the property of the shelter and laws related to spay/neuter prior to adoption or transfer to a new owner still apply. These programs have provided a wonderful lifeline for so many animals throughout the state.


As access to veterinary care issues become more and more acute in California, animals may await spay/neuter surgeries for weeks or even months. It is well documented that California, like other states, is experiencing a veterinary shortage and that shortage is felt significantly in less populated and already under-resourced areas of our state. While there is no evidence to suggest that animals in foster care are contributing to animal overpopulation, AB 2265 also ignores the current state of veterinary care. The restrictions this bill places on shelter and foster caregivers would essentially eliminate these lifesaving programs.


If a foster caregiver is unable to secure a spay/neuter appointment within the arbitrary and nearly impossible to meet timeframe outlined in AB 2265, animals being cared for in foster homes will be forced to re-enter an animal shelter. It is difficult to comprehend what this provision is attempting to solve for, as it will most certainly result in further congesting shelters and contributing to illness, stress, and poor outcomes.


Public Trust 

California animal shelters, along with our rescue partners, communities, volunteers, and donors, have made tremendous lifesaving progress. The number of dogs and cats entering our state’s shelters fell by more than 50% between 2001 and 2021 (800,000 to 366,000), with euthanasia falling from around 60 percent to under 15 percent.


These results would not be possible without healthy shelter and rescue group partnerships that comprise the safety net for animals in need throughout our state. Rescue groups with cooperative agreements with shelters can transfer animals any time after the initial hold period, and puppies and kittens are immediately available. The attempt to mandate a “hurry, this animal is about to die” promotion is misguided and does not improve overall live outcomes. We make real progress when we minimize the length of stay for animals, and don’t wait until euthanasia is imminent to do everything possible to adopt or foster that animal.


AB 2265 amends SEC. 11. Section 32004 of Food and Agriculture to require a 24-72 hour mandated hold period on animals scheduled for euthanasia. This requirement isn’t as easy as just “planning ahead” or being more transparent; it’s a one-size-fits-all mandate that will undoubtedly have negative consequences. Public shelters and contracted nonprofit shelters need to pivot quickly when intake outpaces space. To consistently meet the requirements under AB 2265, shelters will need to redefine what it means to be “full.” Currently, most shelters are operating at capacity and only make difficult humane euthanasia decisions when absolutely necessary.


Further, as this bill sets a new policy for the state that no animals shall be euthanized except in the most egregious circumstances; it appears to require that shelters unnecessarily extend animal suffering after a qualified professional determines that euthanasia is in the animal’s best interest for health or behavioral reasons. This is truly unconscionable and cruel.


These types of postings cause significant harm to the animal shelters and the communities they serve. What shelters need most are more families walking through their buildings to adopt their next pet. Employing strategies of desperate signage and internet postings, only continue to perpetuate the idea that shelters are sad, scary places where animals go to die. While hardworking staff and volunteers work diligently to ensure this is not the case, these postings result in harassment, bullying, and even death threats. This unquestionably limits the ability to attract and retain staff in these vitally important roles.


Public Hearings


Finally, AB 2265 will require government and government-contracted animal shelters to provide public notice and ultimately a public hearing if they want to change any policy, practice, or protocol specific to Food and Agriculture SEC. 12. Section 32005 (2).  As government entities, the very nature of their business is built around transparency with public information requests and the ability to voice one’s thoughts and opinions in public hearings like City Council or County Supervisor meetings.


The laws that govern the work done by government animal shelters span a variety of code sections. They are diverse, complicated, and can be hard for the public to understand. As a perfect example, this section of the bill references a variety of codes that are suspended annually due to a lack of state appropriated funding.


Animal lifesaving fundamentally depends on some level of flexibility and discretion.  As an industry, we are always looking for ways to improve care and positive outcomes. We support accountability and value public participation, but not at the expense of hamstringing our ability to quickly adjust to our current circumstances. Conversely, we do not support any animal shelter adopting policies in violation of operational state statutes. Providing a pathway for legally skirting California animal welfare laws seems completely counter to increasing lifesaving in our state.


Unfortunately, the provisions in AB 2265 show a profound lack of the most basic understanding of animal shelter operations, current law, and how the practical outcomes of this bill will unquestionably lead to more overcrowding, cause more harm, higher humane euthanasia, and reduced public safety.


We are in the shelters every day fighting for the animals in our care. We work tirelessly to see every cat and dog as an individual with independent needs.  Lifesaving is a collaboration and CalAnimals and our shelter members welcome opportunities to have productive conversations around solutions that help create positive outcomes and greater support for animals and their people in California.


We will continue to work openly with lawmakers and partners in animal welfare to reach the outcomes we all desire most, and while we do, we respectfully request your no vote on AB 2265.



  Jill Tucker

Jill Tucker, CAWA


Susan Taylor

Executive Director

Actors and Others for Animals


Brittany Benesi

Senior Legislative Director

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals


Katie Larkin

Executive Director

Angel City Pit Bulls


Jessica Wiebe
Executive Director
Animal Shelter Assistance Program


Tammy Davis

Animal Control Supervisor

Bakersfield Police Department Animal Control


Chuck Nordstrom
Executive Director
Bakersfield SPCA


Linda Gaudel
Shelter Manager
Barstow Humane Society


Jeffrey Zerwekh
Executive Director
Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society


Lisa Kauffman
Senior Campaign Strategist
Best Friends Animal Society


Brenda Castaneda
Animal Shelter Superintendent
Burbank Animal Shelter


Emily Acevedo

Executive Director

Butte Humane Society


Dee Dee Drake

Executive Director

Calaveras Humane Society


Cindi Mitchell

Animal Control Officer

Carmel Police Department


Naomi Tobias


Central California Animal Disaster Team


Linda Van Kirk
Executive Director
Central California SPCA


David Hernandez

Code Compliance Supervisor

City of Carpinteria

Maria V. Kachadoorian

City Manager

City of Chula Vista


Alma Torres

Interim Animal Center Director

City of Fresno Animal Center


Virginia Penaloza

City Manager

City of Huron


Jennifer Bender
Animal Services Supervisor
City of Lodi Animal Services


Tom Ingalls
Fire Marshall/Animal Services Supervisor
City of Loma Linda

April Stevenson

Management Analyst & Sr. Animal Services Ofcr

City of Rancho Cordova


Veronica Fincher
City of Rancho Cucamonga Animal Center


Shad Boone

Department Supervisor

City of Shasta Lake Animal Shelter

Ashley Kluza
Police Services Manager- Animal Services
City of Stockton Animal Services


Courtney Elliott
Chief Animal Control Officer
Colusa County Sheriff’s Animal Control Services


Cindy Burnham
Animal Services Administrator
County of Monterey Health Department


Carl Smith

Interim Director

County of San Diego Dept of Animal Services


Maria Thompkins


Delta Humane Society SPCA of SJC


Allison Lindquist
East Bay SPCA


Sharon Fitzgerald


Eastern Madera County Humane Society (SPCA)


Craig Hall


El Dorado County Animal Services


Sarah Humlie

Animal Services Manager

Elk Grove Animal Services


Joy Smith


FieldHaven Feline Center


Vanessa Valverde

Supervising Animal Services Officer

Fontana Police Department


Pip Marques de la Plata

Executive Director

Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County


John L. Lipp


Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter


Pamela DaGrossa
Vice President
Friends of Colusa County Animal Shelter


Phillip Zimmerman
Animal Care Services Manager
Front Street Animal Shelter - City of Sacramento

Mark Storrey
Haven Humane Society


Anna Neubauer

President & CEO

Hawaiian Humane Society


Carole Scott


High Sierra Animal Rescue


Beth Woolbright

Executive Director

House Rabbit Society


Devon Apodaca
Executive Director
Humane Society of Imperial County


Teri Seymour
Executive Director
Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley


Lindsay McCall
Executive Director
Humane Society of Sonoma County


Marilyn Jasper


Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills


Jenny Berg

California State Director

Humane Society of the United States


Stephanie Nistler
Chief Executive Officer
Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe


Eric Knight
Executive Director
Humane Society of Ventura County


Kurt Krukenberg
Humane Society Silicon Valley


Nikole Bresciani
President & CEO
Inland Valley Humane Society & SPCA


Katie Bird

Animal Services Supervisor

Inyo County Animal Services

Susan Lee Vick


Joybound People & Pets

Nick Cullen
Director of Kern County Animal Services
Kern County Animal Services

Jonathan Armas
Lake County Animal Care and Control


Melanie Wagner

Bureau Manager

Long Beach Animal Care Services


Stephen Schluer

Chief of Police

Manteca Police Department


Nancy McKenney
Marin Humane


Richard Molinari
Animal Shelter Director
Mendocino County Animal Care Services


Vince Wong
Vice President, Public Affairs
Michelson Center for Public Policy


Jerrica Owen
Executive Director
National Animal Care and Control Association


Stefanie Geckler
Animal Control Suprvisor
Nevada County Animal Control/NCSO H.E.A.R.T.T.


Ann Dunn
Oakland Animal Services


Cody Macartney

Supervising Animal Control Officer

Palo Alto Animal Control


Robert Arbrust
Palo Alto Humane


Dia DuVernet
President and CEO
Pasadena Humane


Alex Tonner


Paws For Life K9 Rescue


Anthony Tansimore
Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA


Laura Toller Gardner


Pets In Need


Olivia Kristiansen


Pets Lifeline


Leilani Fratis
Placer SPCA


Judi Sanzo
Rancho Coastal Humane Society


Mary Stage
Ridgecrest Animal Shelter & Care

Carrie Ridgway

Executive Director

Riverside Humane Society dba. Mary S Roberts Pet Adoption Center


Beverly Berger


Rottweiler Rescue of Los Angeles


Fran Cole

Executive Director

Sammie’s Friends


George Harding, IV

Chief of Animal Care

San Bernardino County


Gary Weitzman, DVM
President and CEO
San Diego Humane Society


Jennifer Scarlett
San Francisco SPCA


Cynthia Rigney
Board President
San Gabriel Valley Humane Society


Kerri Burns
Santa Barbara Humane


Amber Rowland
General Manager
Santa Cruz County Animal Services


Alison Talley
Executive Director
Santa Cruz SPCA


Denise Woodside
Executive Director


Teri Rockhold


Selma Animal Services

Nickolas Riddick

Animal Control Manager

Shafter Animal Control Services


Linn Tyhurst

Board President

Siskiyou Humane Society


Renee Gutierrez
Solano County Animal Care Services


Brian Whipple
Director of Animal Services
Sonoma County Animal Services


Scott Delucchi
President & CEO
SPCA Monterey County


Madeline Bernstein


Christi Metropole


Stray Cat Alliance


Megan Anderson
Animal Services Manager

Sutter Animal Services Authority


Gina Whiteside

Director of Animal Services

Town of Apply Valley


Mollie St. John

Animal Control Supervisor

Town of Paradise


Christina Merritt

Shelter Supervisor

Trinity County Sheriff’s Office – Animal Control


Russell Lasswell
Animal Services Manager
Tulare Animal Servies


Michael Mazouch
Animal Control Manager
Tuolumne County Animal Control


Melanie Sadek
Valley Humane Society


Jackie Rose
Ventura County Animal Services


Crystal Sheldon
Animal Control Officer
Westminster Animal Control


Elena Albenese
Director of Pack Services

Wolf Connection


Emily L'Heureux
Woods Humane Society


Stephanie Amato
Director of Animal Services
Yolo County Sheriff's Office Animal Servic

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