SB 1260 is currently awaiting the signature of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. If signed into law, the bill would eliminate the mandatory holding period for cats lacking “discernable identification” who are found outdoors and brought to a county pound. Those cats, including lost pets whose owners are looking for them and friendly, socialized cats who could be adopted, would be neutered, vaccinated, and dumped back on the street immediately after impound.
This bill serves to destroy the human-animal bond by breaking up families when owned cats get lost. Taxpayer funded shelters are the very institutions which should be fighting to protect that bond, not trampling it. It also endangers friendly cats who may lack the necessary skills to survive outdoors and should be adopted to a home. The bill says eligible cats must be “living outdoors” but there is no way for a county pound to make this determination in most cases. A friendly cat who is socialized to humans in fact may have lived indoors, even if he was found outside. Further, the bill discriminates against cat owners by treating them as second class citizens behind dog owners, whose pets will still be protected by mandatory holding periods.
And finally, I can’t help but think of all the cats run through the spay mill at the Maricopa Co pound, who will be dumped back on the street after they wake up from surgery and potentially have their guts fall out in an alley somewhere. They won’t be counted among Maricopa Co’s official dehiscence stats of course, since no one will ever know about the suffering deaths of these poor cats.
Cats deserve the same protections at our public animal shelters as dogs. Cat owners love their pets just as much as dog owners love theirs. Shelter staff should be required to do their jobs to reunite lost pets of all species with their owners and adopt socialized homeless pets to new owners. It is a slippery slope to discriminate against cats while excusing shelter staff from performing their duties for an entire species. Shame on the organizations who promote and defend this heinous practice.
If you are an Arizona resident and wish to contact Governor Ducey to demand equal protections for cats and dogs in public shelters, keep your comments respectful and visit this page for contact information.
(Thanks Anne for the link.)