Few things have life changing effects but that is precisely what pets do, they change our lives, they become family members we cherish and protect. I knew that feeling as a boy growing up with family pets but once I left home I was too busy building a career to have the time to give a pet the attention it deserves.
That changed when my girlfriend befriended two Persian cats, Sam and Bella. Their owner usually worked late so these two fine kitties spent most of their time with Diane and me. Bella soon started demonstrating her displeasure at being parted from us by hissing! Her owner didn't take kindly to that and we happily became Bella's new "parents."
We had Bella for less than two years before she became very sick. She died at a vet's office in Diane's arms. It was a devastating experience as we lost something, no, someone, so precious to both of us. We adopted another rescue cat, Mercy, but she succumbed to a kidney problem common among Persians. Diane and I mourned the loss of another family member.
She and I understood that death always part us from loved ones. Pets, your Bella or your Sam, do not. All they know about death is that it instantly changes everything! Hours, then days, pass but you never come! Maybe no one comes and they search for food and water that is no longer there. Or a friend or neighbor deals with their immediate needs but has no permanen place in their lives for your four footed family member.
And then, all too often, your Bella, your Sam, find themselves in an overcrowded shelter filled with other frightened animals facing an uncertain and often grim future. Will they be adopted? Can your pet compete with the longing look of a Maltese, the energy of a young Golden Retriever, or the adorable Persian kitten playing with a ball of twine?
Don't put your pet's life at risk! Instead, take action now to create the future you want for your pet. The creation of a pet trust insures that your Bella or your Sam is cared for someone you select, a new "parent" when you can no longer act. Learn more about pet trusts and find out how you can give your pet the future he or she deserves.
Death or disablity are not the only things that keep pets from living in loving homes. "No pet" prohibitions in residential leases and condominium CC & R's are also a barrier but not an insurmountable one. Two of the laws cited below, Civil Code Section 54.1 and Government Code Section 12927, protect the rights of the disabled to place and keep pets in their homes.
Please contact me if you have any other questions about creating a pet trust, keeping a pet in your home, injuries caused by or to your pet, or other legal issues that affect the health and happiness of you and your Sam or your Bella. I look forward to talking to you about these matters if doing so can help you or your pet.
There is, after all, nothing more important than protecting a family member.
Probate Code Section 15212: Authorizes the creation of pet care trusts and provides for their ongoing supervision;
Penal Code Section 487 (d)-(f): Punishes those who steal dogs with penalties ranging from imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months and/or a$1,000 fine, or spending up to a year in a state prison;
Penal Code Section 597(l): Establishes minimum pet care standards for pet stores and requires that all pets be sold with care instructions. Minimal penalties imposed for violation;
Food & Agricultural Code Sections 31601-31683: Provides the framework under which it is determined if a dog is potentially dangerous or vicious and the consequences of such a finding which can include a euthansia order;
Business & Professions Code Sections 4800-4917: These code sections establish a Veterinary Medical Board composed of 6 members who deal with all licensing, regulatory and disciplinary matters. Section 4800.1 provides that protection of the public is paramount to all other interests;
Civil Code Section 54.1: Prohibits housing discrimination against anyone who requires the assistance of a guide, signal or service dog as defined in the statute; and
Government Code Section 12927: Makes unlawful the refusal to make reasonable accomodations in rules, policies, or services when necessary to give any disabled person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, i.e., keep a dog or any other pet despite a lease or CC & R prohibition if the required showing is made.
If you want to read any of these code sections, click on http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html, then click on the Penal Code or other code of interest. Its table of contents will display. Click on the grouped code section which contains the section you want to read.
Efforts to improve the lot of animals were spearheaded by the Humane Society of the United States in our state capitol. Seven of the bills the HSUS supported were passed in 2009 but three, one of which would have imposed restrictions on puppy mills, were vetoed by the governor.
Read more about these important developments in the blog posting by the HSUS' President, Wayne Pacelle at: http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2009/10/calif-legislation.html