Stephanie Usrey 0

Cooper's Law: Give Unadoptable Animals in California Shelters a Chance

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It’s no secret that California shelters are extremely overcrowded, and as a result thousands of animals are put to sleep every year. Any given animal has a huge risk of losing its life, once they are in the system. If they are “owner surrendered” they can be put down immediately, if the shelter chooses to do so. Strays have to be held for 3 days and then, if an owner doesn’t come forward, they are also at risk to be put down. Until more funding is available to provide the resources for their care, there isn’t much that can be done to delay euthanasia for these animals. Last month, I lost my beloved shih-tzu Cooper, and wanted to adopt a rescue in his memory so I “friended” a few shelters on Facebook so I could keep an eye out for my next dog. Wondering why so many dogs would pop up on my wall saying “rescue only” or “unadoptable”, I did some investigating and I was shocked at what I learned. These animals are only allowed to be adopted by rescue organizations, due to behavioral or health problems. I got particularly attached to this one “unadoptable” dog that looked just like the one I adopted a couple of weeks ago. I was following up every hour to and contacting all the rescue organizations I could think of to save him. He was 2- years- old and considered “unadoptable” because he was nervous. What makes this even more heartbreaking is there was at least 10 people will to adopt this dog, but they were unable to because now he’s considered a “threat to society”. Many animals are euthanized even though there is a willing adopter, not to mention the shelter is losing money they’d receive from the adoption fees. California citizens, as a whole, are animal loving people. On paper, the state has some of the most animal friendly laws for the shelters but each one is allowed to set their own definition for what an “unadoptable” animal is. A dog with long history of attacks should not be put in the same category as a 5 pound dog that is shaking with nerves or a neglected deaf cat. There are many homes for these animals and the shelters could benefit from receiving the adoption fees. I request that Governor Brown considers only allowing shelters to mark animals “unadoptable” if there is a proven history of violent attacks (not including self-defense). ***This petition is in memory of my rescue, Cooper, whom I rescued from a neglectful situation. Deaf, blind, separation anxiety and being 13-years-old when I got him, he would have been on the “unadoptable” list. While it’s true I saved his life, he also saved mine.***

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