Click on video to watch ACR 86, the Pet Crisis Response Act hearing yesterday.

For Immediate Release

August 28, 2023

Assemblymember Kalra, Priscilla Presley and

Social Compassion in Legislation

Celebrate Unanimous ACR 86 Vote

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 86 passed the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development by a vote of 12-0. ACR 86 enjoyed supportive testimony by actor and philanthropist, Priscilla Presley, and Social Compassion in Legislation’s Founder and President, Judie Mancuso.

“Our animal shelters are overpopulated and overwhelmed; the longer they operate beyond their normal capacity, the worse conditions will become for both their animals and the staff that care for them,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “While high-volume spay-and-neuter procedures are a simple, effective means of addressing this issue, many pet owners are unable to locate accessible and affordable surgical services for their animals. I am thankful ACR 86 has passed the Senate policy committee and will continue to encourage real, effective solutions for the pet overpopulation crisis.”

ACR 86 encourages a multi-pronged approach to the pet overpopulation crisis: it calls for the licensure of out-of-state veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians in the State of California, the development of facilities for spay-and-neuter surgeries, and a public campaign that urges Californians to adopt animals from shelters.

“I was proud to testify in support of ACR 86 today. Too many dogs and cats languish in our state’s shelters, often with very little interaction with other animals or loving, human companions. After solitude and suffering, those that are not adopted quickly are euthanized,” said Priscilla Presley. “This is a humane issue. We have a moral obligation to prevent harm to these animals, which have evolved and been bred to love us and rely on us.”

“I am thrilled with the affirmative vote for ACR 86 today,” said Judie Mancuso. “This resolution will help us reset the narrative on the overpopulation crisis; we need Californians to adopt from a shelter or rescue, we need to help families keep their furry loved ones in their homes and to stop overbreeding, and we need to provide accessible spay and neuter programs.”

“Our public shelters are filled with two distinct populations: the older, sicker animals people can no longer provide care for, and litters upon litters of kittens and puppies: the result of pandemic closures of low-cost spay and neuter clinics that have not been able to reopen at full capacity because of a shortage of veterinarians,” said Kenn Altine, CEO of Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). “We must invest in solutions–building and staffing regional spay and neuter centers, providing incentives for California vet school graduates to stay here, and attracting vets from other states.”

The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee before a full vote of the Senate.


ACR 86 has received bipartisan support and is coauthored by Assemblymembers Boerner (D-Encinitas), Essayli (R-Corona), Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Waldron (R-Valley Center), Wallis (R-Bermuda Dunes), and Zbur (D-West Hollywood), and Senators Blakespear (D-Encinitas), Dodd (D-Napa), Limón (D-Santa Barbara), Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), Stern (D-Los Angeles), and Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).

Video below of Assemblymember Kalra introducing Priscilla Presley on the Assembly Floor.

Priscilla Presley recognized on Assembly Floor 8-28-2023


ACR 86 Pet Crisis Response

WHEREAS, There is a pet overpopulation crisis in California; and

WHEREAS, California’s private and public shelters and the private rescue organizations that support them are overwhelmed with animals; and

WHEREAS, California’s private and public shelters are chronically underfunded while tasked with tackling many of the state’s animal needs, such as fighting animal abuse, addressing mental health issues, such as hoarding, providing safekeeping for pets when owners are arrested or placed in the hospital, supporting public safety, such as rabies control, assisting first responders during emergencies and natural disasters, reunifying pets with their people, and providing life-impacting veterinary interventions and care, animal behavioral support, and adoptions; and

WHEREAS, Due to breeding and lack of access to spaying and neutering services, the state’s shelters are experiencing overcrowding, leading to higher rates of illness, euthanasia, and operational hardships; and

WHEREAS, Due to shelter overcrowding, shelters are turning away animals from intake, leading to higher rates of animals procreating and struggling to survive on the streets; and

WHEREAS, There has been an influx of rabbits, horses, pigs, and other agricultural animals into shelters whose higher level of care puts further strain on shelter resources; and

WHEREAS, The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the challenges that shelters face due to shelter closures or highly reduced hours, staffing shortages, and functional interruptions; and

WHEREAS, Californians adopted pets at record numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic and many Californians underestimated the time that was needed to care for pets and then returned to work, leading to higher rates of owner relinquishment; and

WHEREAS, Due to the brief spike in demand for pets during the pandemic, many Californians, seeing an economic opportunity, began breeding dogs for monetary gain, thereby contributing to the pet overpopulation crisis; and

WHEREAS, Californians are currently not adopting pets from shelters and rescues at the level needed; and

WHEREAS, Californians are buying unaltered “purebred” animals from both in-state and out-of-state breeders; and

WHEREAS, There is a shortage of pet-friendly housing in California, leading to increased owner relinquishment; and

WHEREAS, Due to the pandemic, veterinary clinics and shelters were not able to perform routine spay and neuter surgeries, which resulted in more unwanted litters; and

WHEREAS, There is insufficient community access to low-cost or free spay and neuter clinics, as well as a lack of resources needed to fully enforce state and local laws concerning licensing, breeding, spaying, and neutering; and

WHEREAS, There is a lack of affordable veterinary services available to Californians and their companion animals, which contributes to animal suffering and increased owner relinquishments; and

WHEREAS, There are only two veterinary schools in California, both with limited seating, which fail to meet the state’s demand for licensed veterinarians, and there are not enough academic faculty at those institutions to teach veterinary students; and

WHEREAS, There are not enough licensed veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians, particularly those trained to perform high-volume spay and neuter surgeries, to meet the service demands of California’s shelters, leading to shelter animals being adopted unaltered, thus adding to the pet overpopulation crisis; and

WHEREAS, There is a mental health crisis among veterinarians and shelter and rescue volunteers and staff due to occupational stress, leading to reported suicide rates four to five times higher than the general population; and

WHEREAS, Local jurisdictions spend over $400,000,000 per year in operating the state’s shelters to house, adopt out, and euthanize homeless animals; and

WHEREAS, The only annual state funding for shelters is the roughly $500,000 allocated through the Pet Lover’s Fund funded by the Pet Lover’s specialized license plates program, and a tax check-off program for low-cost spay and neuter; and

WHEREAS, Millions of private and philanthropic dollars are spent every year to assist California’s shelter animals; and

WHEREAS, The Legislature has failed to appropriate ongoing funds to carry out the mandates of Senate Bill 1785 (Chapter 752 of the Statutes of 1998), authored by Senator Tom Hayden; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Veterinary Medical Board, with support from the Governor, other state boards and agencies, and interested stakeholders, should encourage out-of-state licensed veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians to become licensed in California to perform or assist with the necessary spay and neuter surgeries and other medical services in order to address pet overpopulation; and be it further

Resolved, That the state and local municipalities, in cooperation with public and private shelters, nonprofit rescue organizations, and private foundations, are encouraged to develop and fund high-volume spay and neuter clinics across the state to provide sterilization services; and be it further

Resolved, That allocation of adequate funding for statewide spay and neuter programs and resources for broader enforcement of state and local licensing, breeding, and spay and neuter laws is urgently needed; and be it further

Resolved, That the State of California is encouraged to conduct a public relations campaign urging Californians to adopt shelter animals rather than buying an animal from a breeder, and to always spay and neuter them; and be it further

Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

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Judie Mancuso, founder/CEO/president

Social Compassion in Legislation

Social Compassion in Legislation
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