Tag Archives: Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden Asks Governor Brown Not to Repeal Protections for Shelter Animals

by Leighton Woodhouse

California’s budget crisis has inflicted an enormous amount of suffering on millions of California families. But its worst victims are likely to be the hundreds of thousands of animals that enter the state's shelters every year.

According to recent media reports, Gov. Jerry Brown is planning to propose a repeal of key provisions of a 1998 law written by legendary political activist and former State Sen. Tom Hayden to protect shelter animals in California from premature euthanasia and increase their chances for adoption.

The "Hayden Law" requires shelters to wait at least four to six days before killing an animal, rather than the 72-hour minimum that prevailed prior to 1999. It also requires California shelters to schedule their operating hours to allow working people to visit during weekends and evenings so that they can find their missing companion animals or adopt an animal that would otherwise be put to death, and mandates that animals be provided needed veterinary care.

Repealing the law would do away with all of these basic protections, consigning countless animals to death. Sadly, this heartless remedy is what passes for a practical solution in today's fiscal and political climate.

In a video message to Gov. Jerry Brown released this week by Dog Park Media, Tom Hayden urges California Gov. Jerry Brown to leave intact the law he wrote over a decade ago.

"The cost of (repeal) is to put countless dogs and cats to death," says Hayden in the video.

Addressing the Governor, Hayden continues, "I urge you to look at your dog before you allow this bill that protects animals to die."

 Nathan Winograd, director of the California-based No Kill Advocacy Center and author of Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America, agrees.

"Other states also face economic challenges," Winograd told me. "But instead of gutting animal protection laws, they are expanding them. When it comes to protecting animals in shelters, California is far from generous. Turning the clock back almost 15 years as the Governor proposes is unconscionable."

Dog Park is circulating an online petition to accompany the video, calling on Gov. Brown "not to kill thousands of innocent shelter animals" to solve the state's budget woes.

These animals have nothing to do with California's budget shortfall and it is wrong to kill them to solve our fiscal problems.

Endorsements A Go-Go

Just a quickie on a bunch of endorsements from over the weekend.  Xavier Becerra came out for Obama this weekend, which could combine with Ted Kennedy’s endorsement to provide a lot of support in the Latino community.  Apparently, Kennedy will be campaigning in California.  This is a counterweight to the United Farm Workers’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton last week.  But I was interested by Tom Hayden’s endorsement, not of Obama, but actually for the movement he has inspired.  From an email:

I have been devastated by too many tragedies and betrayals over the past 40 years to ever again deposit so much hope in any single individual, no matter how charismatic or brilliant. But today I see across the generational divide the spirit, excitement, energy and creativity of a new generation bidding to displace the old ways. Obama’s moment is their moment, and I pray that they succeed without the sufferings and betrayals my generation went through. There really is no comparison between the Obama generation and those who would come to power with Hillary Clinton, and I suspect she knows it. The people she would take into her administration may have been reformers and idealists in their youth, but they seem to seek now a return to their establishment positions of power. They are the sorts of people young Hillary Clinton herself would have scorned at Wellesley. If history is any guide, the new “best and brightest” of the Obama generation will unleash a new cycle of activism, reform and fresh thinking before they follow pragmatism to its dead end.

Many ordinary Americans will take a transformative step down the long road to the Rainbow Covenant if Obama wins. For at least a brief moment, people around the world — from the shantytowns to the sweatshops, even to the restless rich of the Sixties generation — will look up from the treadmills of their shrunken lives to the possibilities of what life still might be. Environmental justice and global economic hope would dawn as possibilities.

I’ve been saying for a while now that, regardless of the President, what will create this “change” that everyone’s been bandying about is we the people.  The coalition that Obama represents does offer an opportunity to build such a movement, at a level that Clinton does not appear to be attempting to build.  It’s certainly fragile, and may fracture once the Republicans prove resistant to a rhetoric of “post-partisanship” and working together.  But it’s our best hope.