Newsom vetoes canine blood bank bill, saying he wants lawmakers to do more for pet safety

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday vetoed a bill that would have relaxed rules governing canine blood donation, an effort aimed at creating humane facilities in which people could donate plasma from their pets.

The bill, which passed unanimously out of both the Senate and Assembly, was shaped by concerns that strict state veterinary rules have led to the creation of commercial blood banks in which dogs are kept as donors for other animals.

The bill by Sen. Scott Will, R-Santa Clarita, would have increased oversight of commercial blood banks in addition to opening new alternatives for animal blood donation.

Newsom in a veto message said the bill did not go far enough.

“I am asking that the Legislature send me legislation that effectively leads to the phasing out of ‘closed colonies,’ where dogs are kept for months and years to harvest their blood for sale,” he wrote. “The legislation should provide for the safe and humane treatment of donor animals, the welfare of the recipients and adequate oversight and enforcement of this program.”

The bill was co-sponsored by the group Social Compassion in Legislation.

“Imagine a dog living its whole life in a cage just to have its blood drawn, never knowing love or freedom,” the group’s chief executive, Judie Mancuso, said in a previous statement on the bill. “Many pet owners would allow their dogs and cats donate blood in a safe, clean environment in order to help add to the state’s blood supply and help eventually end closed-caged colonies.”

The bill Newsom vetoed would have required that applicants seeking to operate a commercial blood bank do so “with current standards of care and practice for the field of veterinary transfusion medicine,” according to a Senate floor analysis of the bill.

The bill would have required the testing of animal blood before it can be used in a transfusion. It also would have required that a licensed veterinarian oversee the blood collection.

It would have prohibited commercial blood banks from paying people who bring in “a community-sourced animal” for the purpose of donating its blood.

Related stories from Modesto Bee

Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.