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California lawmakers are looking to strengthen protections of animals at shelters. Here's how.

2 animal welfare measures move through California State Capitol
2 animal welfare measures move through California State Capitol 02:24

SACRAMENTO — Two animal welfare measures are moving forward at the California State Capitol with the goal of humanely controlling evergrowing pet populations.

Romer Kristobal and his partner own three rescues.

"We just think, you know, having more accountability in the shelters is good," Kristobal said.

They support efforts to help address inadequate conditions, poor medical care and euthanasia rates after complaints and litigation at shelters in Southern California.

"The two measures are a more than appropriate response to the issues highlighted by the grand jury and other recent coverage," Senator Josh Newman said. "They are also a call to action about the urgent need to address conditions at so many shelters across the state."

Newman and Senator Janet Nguyen co-authored the legislation.

"My bill, SB 1478, provides standards for vet notations on animal charts and specific instances such as timeliness of treatment, pain control and treatment of injuries," Nguyen said.

The other, Senate Bill 1459, would require shelters in counties with more than 400,000 residents to do monthly reporting on their websites regarding intakes, outtakes, euthanization and natural death.

"Shelters need the resources and they also need the legislative context to be successful in their life-saving efforts," Dr, Kate Hurley said.

Dr. Hurley is the director of veterinary medicine with the Koret Shelter Medicine program at UC Davis which has helped save millions of cats.

"This legislative update would address the language in penal code 97s to make it clear that trapping, neutering and returning cats to where they were thriving in the community does not constitute criminal abandonment," Dr. Hurley said.

Lisa Kirk is a community cat trapper who has spayed and neutered more than 10,000 cats in four counties. She said the language in the bills needs to be changed.

"They need to at least take in cats that are being dumped that are friendly because when you call a shelter now, you can't get a cat in there, and it's part of this policy," Kirk said. "So we don't want to see this policy extended."

Sharon Logan is another opponent who wants to start by auditing the way programs are run and funded now.

"There is a specific budget allocated for those services, but those services are not being provided," Logan said. "It gets dumped on nonprofits volunteering in the community."

The two bills made it out of Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee and now go on to Senate appropriations within a few weeks.

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