Senate Bill 250 (SB250), formerly known as the California Healthy Pets Act and now cited as the California Responsible Pet Ownership Act, would have required the spaying or neutering of all dogs over six months of age, excluding hunting and working dogs. Any cat over six months of age that is not kept strictly indoors, described as "free roaming", is also required to be spayed or neutered. Owners wishing to keep an unaltered dog will be required to obtain a permit, for which they may be asked to pay for depending on the jurisdiction in which they live.
The California State Assembly has rejected the bill, with a vote of 28-42 after prolonged legislative advocacy efforts by the Concerned Dog Owners of California (CDOC) and Save Our Dogs groups.
"We are pleased to have been effective advocates on behalf of owners of all types of dogs and pets, as well as working dogs, in California. We look forward to addressing these issues next year in a way that does not disenfranchise responsible pet owners, ranchers and farmers, law enforcement personnel and the disabled who rely on service dogs." said Bill McFadden, President of the nonprofit CDOC.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, who sponsored the bill and believes it would lead to long-term savings for the state and reduce animal overpopulation, has announced that it will be reconsidered in January 2010.
"Opponents have falsely labeled this bill as mandatory spay and neuter, and many of the untruths being spread have given members pause. I look forward to sitting down with those members over the recess so the true intent of this bill can be made clear, and we can get to the business of improving life for our pets and saving taxpayers from the enormous expense of cleaning up after irresponsible folks who over-run our shelters with their cast-offs," Florez said.