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Advocates Unleash California's First Dog in Shelter Fight

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Advocates Unleash First Dog in Shelter Fight

AP

Sutter the dog walks around the east steps of the Capitol as California First Lady Anne Gust Brown, background, officially announces that he would remain as the First Family dog while talking with reporters, in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011. Sutter, a 7-year-old Welsh Corgi had been the dog of Gov. Jerry Brown's sister until she took a job out of state. Sutter has his own Facebook page for friends to keep up on his activities.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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His name is Sutter, and by all accounts he brings great joy to the governor of California.

It is his relationship with Jerry Brown that has this Pembroke Welsh corgi in the center of a dispute over mutts and unwanted pets across California.

Former state senator Tom Hayden of Santa Monica has produced a Youtube video attempting to save a law he helped pass in 1999 which requires local animal shelters to wait at least four to six days before euthanizing a dog or cat.

“Hayden’s law” also requires operating hours that allow working people to visit shelters during weekends and evenings to find missing pets or adopt one that would otherwise be put down.

Prior to the law shelters had only a 72-hour minimum before a dog or cat was euthanized.

“Governor, I see you’re a dog owner. I can tell from the publicity that you love that dog, your wife loves that dog,” Hayden implores in the video. “So stop and think: Thousands of dogs and cats are put to death needlessly every year. It’s not a budget issue. It is a humane issue.”

Brown has argued that there are too many laws in California which restrict the way local governments do business.

It is estimated that cities and counties could save $46 million by eliminating the current state mandate.

But, as Brown’s predecessor discovered, any effort to shorten the lives of “man’s best friend” is a tough sell.

Back in 2004 Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to repeal the euthanasia waiting period only to be shot down by the legislature.

Since the Governor’s inauguration, Sutter has attracted public attention and especially the hearts of animal activists.

The dog even sat in on a recent budget negotiation and is particularly popular with some of the legislature’s leading Republicans.

It is with that in mind that the “Sutter’s friends” Facebook page was put together by those attempting to preserve the current shelter laws (Sutter also has his very own Facebook page, complete with m,ore than 4,000 "likes" and his own Twitter account @SutterBrown).

Jerry Brown agreed to take the dog for a while when his sister Kathleen left the bay area for Chicago.

Now he’s part of the Governor’s daily life -- a bacon-loving lobbyist being used to change the Governor’s mind on an issue of finance, and of the heart.

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