LOS ANGELES -- A new bill introduced by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, who represents the 53rd district in Los Angeles, is in the works to guarantee certain rights for pets.
Assembly Bill 1881 is being called the "Dog and Cat Bill of Rights" with the goal of promoting the well-being of pets as well as fight against animal cruelty.
"Animal cruelty takes forms in a lot of different ways. It's the direct abuse. But it's also not taking care of them well. It's not walking them, not giving them mental stimulation, not caring for them," said Santiago. "These are big things we need to keep in mind when we either purchase a dog, adopt a dog or rescue a dog."
AB 1881 would require that the bill of rights is posted on the premises of animal shelters and rescue organizations.
Here are the 7 specific rights outlined in the bill.
-Dogs and cats have the right to be free from exploitation, cruelty, neglect, and abuse.
-Dogs and cats have the right to a life of comfort, free of fear and anxiety.
-Dogs and cats have the right to daily mental stimulation and appropriate exercise.
-Dogs and cats have the right to nutritious food, sanitary water, and shelter in an appropriate and safe environment.
-Dogs and cats have the right to preventive and therapeutic health care.
-Dogs and cats have the right to be properly identified through tags, microchips, or other humane means.
-Dogs and cats have the right to be spayed and neutered to prevent unwanted litters.
"There are basic needs that are on the bill. But unfortunately, you would be surprised how people are not aware of that," said Genaro Garcia, an animal rights advocate for Angel's Rescue.
Garcia, a Pico Rivera resident, has been rescuing injured animals for the past nine years with his wife and said he supports the bill.
"We went to a lot of situations where people don't know the basic needs. Like just put water on the pet's bowls or food," said Garcia. "When we got to a lot of homes, dogs and cats hadn't ate in a couple of days, which is unfortunate."
Santiago was also the co-author behind the state law that allows a person to break a car window to save a dog in hot weather. With this new proposed bill, Santiago said the first offense will be a warning and the second offense would result in a $250 fine. The money from the fines would go into helping fund the program.
"We are starting to see folks bring their dogs back to a shelter because they don't have time for them. We want to make sure their next family, their forever family, knows what it takes to take care of dog or cat."
The next step for the bill is to move to a committee for review.
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