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Gilroy
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December 1, 2021

New Laws for Kennels

A bill that would set health and care standards for the state’s pet boarding facilities—including stables—has been introduced in Sacramento by State Senator Bill Monning, whose 17th district includes Gilroy.

If passed and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate Bill 945 would be the first of its kind in the state to regulate the pet boarding industry. It would apply to all animals and would impact thousands of boarding and veterinary establishments statewide, including home-based pet sitters, whether independent or working for web-based firms such as Rover.com.

As currently written, the law would require annual facility inspections by veterinarians, empower animal control officers to investigate and cite owners and levy potentially hefty fines for substandard pet care or facilities.

“We are looking to create a bill that first and foremost protects the safety and welfare of the pets, but also gives consumers recourse and gives [business] owners predictability and protection as well,” Monning told the Dispatch on Monday.

“There is currently no regulation of pet boarding facilities in the State of California,” he said, adding that his bill seeks to establish baseline standards in terms of pet care and the quality of the facilities in which pets are boarded.

Sponsored by the State Humane Association of California and introduced into the State Senate on Feb. 3, the bill still is its early stages. Monning said he welcomes input from individuals and trade groups.

Right now the proposal has no opposition, he said, adding that if all goes smoothly he would like to see the new law go into effect in January 2017.

News of the pending legislation met with general approval and some concerns from businesses and others contacted by the Dispatch.

Dennis Bright of Bright Ranch, a horsemanship academy in San Martin, said, “Anytime you can create standards of care that are consistent and that benefit the animals, I will support that.”

However, he said that if the new law comes with fees it could price people out of the equestrian market.

“The horse industry, especially in California because of the high overhead, is very, very challenging. If it’s just one more layer of fees and we have to pass that cost onto clients, it will make [lessons] more unaffordable than they already are [to some].”

Evelyn Davis of Gilroy is a respected wildlife sculptor and artist with years of experience at boarding stables and in caring for wild animals at the nonprofit Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center (W.E.R.C.) in Morgan Hill. She believes Monning’s legislation is a good idea.

“The more we watch over and protect animals the better,” she said Monday.

“I have lived on several boarding stables and have seen a lot of different things. I really think boarding stables should be inspected once a year by a veterinarian, and the same for dogs and any animal facility.”

At Sundowners Kennel in Gilroy, manager and trainer Kate Davern agreed that standards are needed.

“The most important thing is you take care of the dog; I like [the idea] of there being a standard [and] having at least a basic standard would be great,” she said.

“It will hopefully clean up some of the things that shouldn’t be happening.”

Sundowners started in Santa Cruz in 1969 and moved to Gilroy about 20 years ago, Davern said, adding, “We hold ourselves to high standards.”

She likes that Monning is inviting input from operators of boarding facilities. “It takes experience to figure out what’s going to work,” she said.

Davern suggested veterinarians who conduct annual inspections be informed not only about animal health and facilities matters, but also about dog behaviors and stresses.

She said stress “… is what I think makes or breaks an experience for a dog in a facility; how they feel when they come back the next time.” That’s why Sundowners limits the number of canines that can board at one time, she said.

When owners relate how their dogs get excited as they drive up to the kennel, “That is very telling, [it means] the dog had a good time when they were here,” she said.
To contact Sen. Monning, go to his website at:http://bit.ly/1yMOOuP. To read SB 945 as introduced, go to:http://bit.ly/1PKZQqU.

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