HSUS participated in crafting MSN in Sacramento Co, CA starting in 2004 (pdf). The ordinance was introduced in 2006 and passed in 2007.
- In 2006, Sacramento Co killed 46% of their shelter pets while owners redeemed 9% and 15% were adopted, rescue accounted for 6% and foster for 2% (pdf).
- In 2007, Sacramento Co killed 49% of their shelter pets while owners redeemed 10% and 15% were adopted, rescue accounted for 4% and foster for 3% (pdf).
- In 2008, Sacramento Co killed 50% of their shelter pets while owners redeemed 9% and 15% were adopted, rescue accounted for 4% and foster for 2% (pdf).
In summary, the HSUS led coalition declared that MSN was the solution to Sacramento County's shelter killing problems in 2006, when the kill rate was 46%. After MSN was passed in 2007, the kill rate increased to 49% and increased again in 2008 to 50%. Rescue/foster save rates have dropped from 8% to 6% in the same period. Adoptions have remained stagnant at 15%.
To date, I would give this ordinance a big frowny-face "F".
Now to current MSN legislation in CA and the question of HSUS support:
Judie Mancuso, the animal rights activist behind CA's 2007 statewide MSN bill (AB 1634), is founder and President of Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL). SCIL is BFFs with HSUS (pdf of HSUS 2007 tax return indicating a $10,000 grant to SCIL, page 47). After AB 1634 went down in flames in 2008, SCIL went to work on SB 250 which is kinda very much like and eerily similar to and basically the same thing as AB 1634. SB 250 recently passed the state Senate and has been sent to the state Assembly for final consideration before it can become law.
Although to my knowledge HSUS has not taken an official position on SB 250, we know they are strong financial supporters of the bill's sponsor SCIL and historically they have worked to get MSN ordinances passed in CA. And since HSUS has not come out against SB 250, it's possible to my mind they are supporting it, perhaps through additional grants to SCIL and/or other means. Which is why this release from HSUS, dated June 4, surprised me:
On behalf of its nearly 1.3 million California constituents, The Humane Society of the United States yesterday appeared before the state legislative Budget Conference Committee to urge consideration of the serious and adverse implications of the Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to suspend the "animal adoption mandate," which would have the effect of reducing by three days the holding period for stray dogs and cats in the state's municipal animal shelters.
Indeed if HSUS is concerned about saving shelter pets in CA, why are they not campaigning against SB 250 which will have the effect of increased killing of shelter pets in CA? Note: Look at the Los Angeles MSN kills stats after 1 year on KC Dog Blog, and the disastrous effects of MSN in Santa Cruz Co on Save Our Dogs site.
I'll be watching the Save Our Dogs and PetPAC sites for news about the CA State Assembly's action on SB 250. And I'll be keeping an eye out for any "official position" and/or action by HSUS regarding the bill.
Letter from former President of CA Veterinary Medical Association
American Veterinary Medical Association policy against MSN
ASPCA position statement against MSN
Alley Cat Allies (pdf) against MSN