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October 17, 2012

Californians Can Protect Animals and Support Law Enforcement by Passing Proposition 30

At The HSUS, we spend a lot of energy working to secure the passage of meaningful reforms to state laws around the country—believing that when the laws reflect our values, animals not only benefit, but that our society becomes increasingly more humane.

Sutter Brown - Yes on Prop 30
Gov. Brown's dog, Sutter, barks Yes on Prop 30.

But for our animal protection laws to be meaningful, they have to be enforced. We have to have enough funding for police to investigate cruelty and make arrests, for humane law enforcement officers to act on complaints of cruelty and neglect, for wardens to go after wildlife poachers, and for prosecutors to bring cruelty cases to justice and hold offenders accountable.

California is surely not the only state to have suffered from serious budget crises causing drastic reductions in public safety funding, but it’s one where voters have an opportunity right now to forestall another round of cuts.

That’s why The HSUS has endorsed Proposition 30, the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act. Passage of Prop 30, championed by Gov. Jerry Brown, is critical for providing support to law enforcement to properly combat poaching, animal cruelty, and other crimes in California.

Prop 30 proposes to generate $6 billion in revenues and to establish a guarantee for public safety funding in the state constitution, a guarantee of support which could only be reduced by voter approval. If Prop 30 passes, it would halt $6 billion worth of “trigger” cuts adopted by lawmakers in the current year’s budget—including approximately $25 million worth of cuts to programs affecting law enforcement generally and wildlife and habitat protection specifically.

In just the past few years, Californians have successfully lobbied their elected officials to upgrade the state’s animal protection laws. Since January 2009, not long after voters approved Proposition 2, The HSUS—backed by humane citizens—has weighed in on 62 pieces of legislation (55 supported and 7 opposed). Together, we have changed the legal landscape for animal protection in California, and now it’s vital we work to enforce these laws.

The HSUS has worked with great energy to support these measures. Perhaps most notably, we helped to persuade a majority of the legislature and Gov. Brown to ban the shark fin trade, make California the 14th state to prohibit the cruel and unnecessary use of packs of dogs to pursue bears and bobcats. But without the funds for proper enforcement—and with a state forced to take $6 billion of additional cuts—we’ll be falling short of our actual goals of helping to prevent cruelty.

California already has the lowest ratio of wardens per capita in the country—patrolling vast amounts of wilderness with fewer and fewer law enforcement resources. And the HSUS is doing what we can, providing funding for the past four years in support of the Department of Fish and Game’s K9 program, where trained dogs assist wardens in the investigation of poaching and pollution crimes and apprehension of criminals. We offer rewards for successful prosecution of poachers. Recently, The HSUS coordinated with state and federal law enforcement agencies in the successful “Operation Cyberwild” to provide information leading to the arrest of traffickers peddling illegal wildlife parts.

Californians, as you cast your ballot, please vote in favor of Proposition 30 to stop millions of dollars of cuts to programs critical to enforcing your state’s strong animal protection laws. And if you live outside California, our website also has information on bills to help animals in your state.

Paid for by The Humane Society of the United States

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