Following strong bipartisan support, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 245
, authored by Senator Ling Ling Chang
(R-Diamond Bar), which calls on animal shelters throughout the state to waive pet adoption fees for military veterans. California is home to two million military veterans, including many who struggle to cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a companion animal could be beneficial with their recovery efforts.
"This is a big win for veterans and shelter animals," said Senator Chang. "As the saying goes, a dog is a 'man's best friend.' When I'm home my four-legged companions are a part of my family. Buster and Pepper bring me joy and laughter and I benefit from the positive effects of their companionship. Our brave heroes deserve the same happiness, and I'm glad we can reduce the barriers for bringing together veterans seeking companion animals and pets in need of a home."
Under SB 245, the process for confirming an eligible veteran by a shelter would be streamlined by using the state's existing "VETERAN" driver's license designation. This law is effective January 1, 2020.
Since Senator Chang's tenure, she has advocated on behalf of veterans and shelter animals with other legislation that are on their way to the governor's desk for his signature. She co-authored Assembly Bill 427
which would exempt military retirement pay from state income tax for veterans who are residents in California, and introduced Senate Bill 64
which would require a microchip be implanted in all dogs and cats at an animal shelter before they are released.