California lawmaker introduces ‘Bill of Rights’ for dogs and cats

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KEYT) — Assemblyman Miguel Santiago of Los Angeles’ 53rd District introduced the 1881 Assembly Bill, codenamed the “Dog and Cat Bill of Rights,” which seeks to list seven protections for pets in the state and have those rights listed in a prominent place at animal shelters.

“Our dogs and cats deserve to be loved and cared for, and the Bill of Rights for Dogs and Cats will help inform potential adopters of the care needed to create a healthy environment for adopted animals,” Santiago said in a statement.

The bill would grant the following rights to dogs and cats in California:

  • The right to be free from exploitation, cruelty, neglect and abuse
  • The right to a comfortable life, free from fear and anxiety
  • The right to daily mental stimulation and appropriate physical exercise
  • The right to nutritious food, clean water and housing in an appropriate and safe environment
  • The right to preventive and therapeutic health care
  • The right to proper identification by means of tags, microchips or other human means
  • The right to sterilization and sterilization to avoid unwanted litters

“These are important things we need to keep in mind when buying a dog, adopting a dog or rescuing a dog,” the Assemblyman added.

If the bill passes, animal control agencies, animal shelters, and state humane societies would be required to post a copy of the “Dog and Cat Bill of Rights” at a location prominently on their property.

Agencies that fail to do so will be fined $250. The money from the fines would be used to fund the program.

Santiago was also the co-author of the state law that allows a person to break a car window to save a dog in hot weather.

The next step for the bill is to go to committee for review.