Since August's state budget was adopted, the waiting period for killing unclaimed cats, dogs, or small creatures (guinea pigs, yes) dropped from six days to just three; the state legislative analyst claims this will save California $25 million. Incidentally, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger initially suggested that all waiting periods be completely done away with. This means stray animals could be killed in a matter of minutes or hours. Think of the savings!
Campbell and other Animal Control officials are quick to note this development shouldn't alter the way they do business in San Francisco, which kills only sickly, vicious or otherwise "unadoptable" animals. But it certainly will be a big deal for smaller animal services in parts of the state more ravaged by the recession and without the monetary resources or volunteer animal rescue groups San Francisco is blessed with.
And, make no mistake, San Francisco is not getting out of this unscathed. The change in state law means that animal shelter agencies are no longer eligible for state reimbursment for days four through six that they house a stray animal. San Francisco didn't put animals to death after Day No. 6, but it did apply for those reimbursements. That ends now -- and local animal control officials are unsure how much less state money they'll be getting now than they used to.
But they aren't swimming in guinea pigs. So they've got that going for them. Which is nice.
Photo | University of Wisconsin, La Crosse