Home>Articles>Newsom Signs Bill to Allow Homeless to Keep Emotional Support Dogs in Shelters

Senator Bob Hertzberg (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Newsom Signs Bill to Allow Homeless to Keep Emotional Support Dogs in Shelters

SB 774 becomes law despite safety concerns

By Evan Symon, September 28, 2022 7:00 am

A bill that would exempt homeless Californians from having an established 30-day relationship with an emotional support dog to receive documentation that would allow them access to places such as homeless shelters was signed into law by Governor Newsom on Monday.

Senate Bill 774, authored by Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), would change existing law that prohibits a health care practitioner from providing documentation relating to an individual’s need for an emotional support dog unless the health care practitioner complies with specified criteria, including, among other things, that the health care practitioner establish a client-provider relationship with the individual for at least 30 days prior to providing the documentation. SB 774 would instead establish an exception to the 30-day relationship rule if the individual in need of an emotional support dog is verified to be homeless.

While many homeless people have other support pets such as cats, only dogs would be allowed under the bill.

Senator Hertzberg authored the bill with many homeless being denied shelter because of no-pet rules in homeless shelters, as well as the increase in stray dogs due to homeless individuals releasing their dogs to get shelter for the night.

“Many state-funded shelter programs require a doctor’s certification to allow a homeless individual to bring their pet as emotional support,” said Senator Hertzberg in a statement on Tuesday. “This hindered access to shelter for many homeless individuals who weren’t willing to leave their pets behind. SB 774 removes those barriers and ensures we can more quickly house homeless individuals.”

While many lawmakers had been initially opposed to the bill, largely due to the increased dangers that such a program could bring, most changed their mind during more recent votes. Last month, the Assembly passed the bill 76-0, with the Senate following up 40-0. Despite the high yea percentages, many experts continued to express concerns over the bill being passed.

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaking at the State of the State address in Sacramento, CA, Mar 8, 2022. (Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock)

“Ignoring the fact that many shelters don’t allow animals period for a variety of reasons, allowing dogs without a documentation of 30 days in is very dangerous,” explained veterinarian Dr. Louisa Cordova to the Globe on Tuesday. “The person in question could have just picked up the dog without knowing anything of it’s temperament. If that dog goes into a shelter filled with people, who knows how they can react. Attacking, biting, and a lot of other things can bring physical and health risks.

“There are many homeless people who do treat dogs quite well, and they can help them mentally too. That isn’t in question. But the fact that people can now bring more dangerous and unknown dogs in is very concerning. A lot of shelters will have more and more areas just for people with dogs probably just to protect people. This was a well meaning law, but also foolish in many ways it may harm people.”

Despite the opposition, Governor Newsom proceeded to sign SB 774 on Monday along with 5 other animal-related bills.

“For many families, including my own, pets are beloved companions that enrich our lives every day,” said Governor Newsom in a statement on Monday. “I’m proud to sign this legislation to advance our state’s leadership on animal welfare by ending cruel and unnecessary testing on dogs and cats, among other measures to protect the health and safety of pets in California.”

Gov. Newsom is expected to continue either signing or veto bills throughout the week.

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6 thoughts on “Newsom Signs Bill to Allow Homeless to Keep Emotional Support Dogs in Shelters

  1. Two horse’s asses working in concert to enshrine a bill that is not only dangerous but stupid: Sen Bob “Huggy” Hertzberg and Gov Gavin “I’m NOT running for President” Newsom.
    Great, just what California needs!
    Meanwhile, just as a side note, out here in the real world, I understand it’s more difficult —– with far more rigorous rules and requirements —- for the average tax-paying, law-abiding citizen to adopt a pet from the local humane society than it would be for that person to adopt a child.

    1. P.S. By the way, Katy Grimes story of a few months ago or so about taking her dog for a walk in the local park and being stalked and threatened by some squatter transient’s unleashed pit bull (I think it was) reminded me that street vagrants’ dogs are often used as enforcers for the drug deals and other criminal activity that has become prevalent on our city streets, and even if often-vicious dogs are used to protect only the individual homeless person in his tent, the dogs should NOT be allowed to run free on the streets and should NOT be allowed to be brought into (probably already chaotic) shelters. To call pit bull “enforcers,” who have been trained to attack, “emotional support dogs” is laughable. But what would you expect from the delusional Dem clowns in our legislature and our own Gov Gav who gives this stuff the thumbs-up?

  2. Homeless person doesn’t have enough money for food and shelter, but has enough money to support a dog?

    Do a search on “homeless person’s pitbull attacks”. There is article after article of homeless people’s pitbulls attacking innocent citizens and their dogs.

    “Woman attacked by pit bulls near homeless camp: ‘These dogs have more rights than me’”
    https://mynorthwest.com/3478639/woman-attacked-by-pit-bulls-near-homeless-camp-these-dogs-have-more-rights-than-me/

    “Homeless woman’s pit bull attacks passerby on street”
    https://nypost.com/2018/02/19/homeless-womans-dog-attacks-passerby-on-street/

    “VENICE HOMELESS MAN’S PIT BULL ATTACKS CONSTRUCTION WORKER”
    http://www.shackedmag.com/2021/07/venice-homeless-mans-pit-bull-attacks.html

    They have zero common sense in Sacramento. In fact, I will go so far as to say, they are just plain stupid.

    1. Wow, thanks for posting this, Protect Freedom. Hadn’t realized there were SO MANY such attacks.
      Now our stupid ‘leadership’ in Sacramento looks even MORE stupid, which is really saying something.

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