AB 332 Unanimously Passes Assembly Business & Professions Committee
Tuesday, April 11, 2023 - Today, AB 332, the Shelter Animal Data Collection Act, authored by Assembly Member Alex Lee (D-San Jose) and sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee with a unanimous vote. AB 332 will require the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to restore the collection of in-take and outcome data, including vaccination, adoption, and euthanasia figures from municipal animal shelters and make publicly available.
“I’m grateful for the committee’s passage of our bill AB 332 which will help direct funding more efficiently to shelters and support informed policy decisions to help pets find their forever homes,” said Assemblymember Alex Lee.
"It is clear that the committee supports the need for transparency from our taxpayer funded animal shelters in order to understand the specific needs of our diverse communities. We have been working for decades to mitigate the state's pet overpopulation crisis, but we will never get there without this critical information," said Judie Mancuso, founder/president, Social Compassion in Legislation, sponsor of the bill.
In 2015, SCIL led an effort to make the official state pet the ‘Shelter Pet’, which was chaptered into state law. AB 332 will help provide important data about shelter animals so that resources are better optimized to find more dogs and cats their forever homes.
The state, local jurisdictions, and nonprofits invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our shelter system to save animals’ lives. Yet the data these entities rely on to direct these resources is no longer available. This transparency will ensure that the state and other entities are able to direct funding efficiently to shelters with the greatest need, while also giving policymakers a more complete picture of the pet overpopulation problem to make informed policy decisions.
From 1995 through 2016, CDPH requested a variety of data from city and county animal shelters as part of its annual rabies control activities reporting and was posted on their website. The data was useful to advocates and policymakers, who used the information to identify regions of the state where certain program support was needed to reduce euthanasia rates and other adverse outcomes for animals in shelters and was particularly valuable for prioritizing funding.
However, not only did CDPH arbitrarily reduce the categories of data it collected from public animal shelters beginning in 2017, excluding the most important information pertaining to animals received and discharged, this year it has removed the reports completely from their website. CDPH on their own volition has gone completely opaque from their once transparent approach.
The intent of this bill is to restore the collection of the data. This would include information specifically relating to dog and cats taken in stray or relinquished by owner, discharged by local animal control authorities, including, but not limited to, number reclaimed by owner, adopted by the public or a rescue organization, euthanized, died, or transferred to another shelter.
By pinpointing geographically where the highest need and overpopulation exists, local and state policymakers will have a tool to help guide existing resources. The bill will now be heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee.