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In a lawsuit by rescuers against the Los Angeles County pound, the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that California shelters cannot kill animals rescue groups are willing to save by claiming those animals have “behavioral problems” based on temperament tests.
Specifically, the court ruled that “the County lacks discretion to withhold and euthanize a dog based upon its determination that the animal has a behavioral problem or is not adoptable or treatable.”
California makes it illegal to kill animals that rescue groups are willing to save, with narrowly tailored exceptions, but the County claimed it could kill any animals it determined had a “behavior” issue. The Court disagreed.
This is the pound that killed Bowie, a shy 15-week-old puppy, claiming he had “behavioral problems.” The rescuer who offered to save him was devastated. She called it a “gut punch.” But the ruling applies statewide to all California shelters.
It was not a total victory, but the main issue on appeal resulted in a ruling favoring animals and the rescuers who wanted to save them from being killed based on unreliable and often vindictive reasons.
We will have an expanded discussion of the ruling in our upcoming Fall issue of No Kill Sheltering magazine.