It’s time to celebrate, because TWO critical animal-protection bills were signed into California state law this month by Governor Newsom! They both passed the California State Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support in September, and the Governor’s signature sealed the deal. If you are a resident of California, use our online form to send a message of thanks to the Governor today! These new state laws will go into effect on January 1, 2024.
California’s Veterinary Telehealth Law
Starting in January, California pet owners will have greater access to veterinary care. This new law will empower licensed veterinarians in the Golden State to host appointments with new and existing patients using video technology. Human healthcare has long relied on telehealth as a safe and convenient alternative to office visits, and now California veterinarians can do the same.
Telehealth is a lifeline for pet owners, especially those in areas with few or no veterinarians and those who face financial or logistical obstacles getting pets to a clinic. When used responsibly, remote vet appointments can help prevent animal suffering, address barriers to care and keep pets out of animal shelters. We are currently working to improve or preserve access to veterinary telehealth in several other states, including Colorado, Michigan and Florida. Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to see a list of current, actionable alerts near you.
Your personal story can help our continued efforts to advance laws that expand access to veterinary telemedicine, like the one in California. Tell us how your pet has benefited from remote veterinary appointments or why your pet needs better access to them.
California’s Disaster Preparedness and Sheltering Law
This new law will help prevent life-threatening situations by requiring local governments to designate pet-friendly emergency shelters for use during natural disasters and extreme weather events.
California’s communities face a growing rate of catastrophic wildfires, floods and extreme heat. The state even experienced the effects of a rare offshore hurricane and record-setting blizzards this year. During emergency events like these, residents may face evacuation orders or require emergency shelter, but it has often been difficult for Californians to find emergency shelters that welcome people and their pets.
A recent ASPCA survey of California pet owners revealed that 51% of respondents would evacuate only if they could take their pets with them. Additionally, those who are forced to evacuate without their pets are more likely to illegally reenter evacuation sites to rescue animals, threatening their own safety and that of first responders. These circumstances demonstrate the importance of California’s new law and the urgency to increase access to pet-friendly, emergency shelters throughout the country. With the help of California’s new law, pet owners will no longer face the devastating choice between seeking safety and staying with their beloved pet.
Do you have a plan in place for emergencies? Use our Disaster Preparedness Checklist to create a plan for yourself and your pets before disaster strikes.
For more actions you can take to help animals, join the ASPCA Mobile Action Team! We’ll keep you informed of important, breaking news for animals in your community and beyond.
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