BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 2949
                                                                  Page  1

          AB 2949 (DeSaulnier)
          As Amended May 12, 2008
          Majority vote 

           JUDICIARY           10-0                                        
          |Ayes:|Jones, Tran, Adams,       |     |                          |
          |     |Evans, Feuer, Keene,      |     |                          |
          |     |Berg, Laird, Levine,      |     |                          |
          |     |Lieber                    |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           SUMMARY  :  Requires a person who discovers an abandoned animal  
          within a foreclosed-upon home to contact animal control for the  
          purpose of retrieval and care.  Specifically,  this bill  provides  

          1)Any person or private entity with whom a live animal is  
            deposited shall immediately notify animal control officials  
            for the purpose of retrieving the animal.  

          2)Animal control officers who recover an abandoned animal, as  
            provided, shall be entitled to secure a lien for the purpose  
            of recovering the costs of attempting to rescue the animal.  

          3)No new or additional civil or criminal liability shall be  
            imposed upon a depositary who complies with this measure.

          4)The person in possession of the abandoned animal is subject to  
            all local ordinances and state laws that govern the proper  
            care and treatment of those animals. 

           EXISTING LAW  provides that: 

          1)Every person who overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of  
            necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats,  
            mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal; and whoever, having  
            the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or  
            otherwise, subjects any animal to needless suffering, or  
            inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon the animal, or in any manner  
            abuses any animal, or fails to provide the animal with proper  


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            food, drink, or shelter or protection from the weather, or who  
            drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for  
            labor, is, guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony  
            punishable by a fine of not more than $20,000.  

          2)Every owner, driver, or keeper of any animal who permits the  
            animal to be in any building, enclosure, lane, street, square,  
            or lot of any city, county, city and county, or judicial  
            district without proper care and attention is guilty of a  
            misdemeanor.  Provides that when any peace officer, humane  
            society officer, or animal control officer has reasonable  
            grounds to believe that very prompt action is required to  
            protect the health or safety of the animal or the health or  
            safety of others, the officer shall immediately seize the  

          3)Every person who willfully abandons any animal is guilty of a  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, due to housing foreclosures,  
          the abandonment of animals throughout California has grown.  The  
          author explains that when people are allowed to enter an  
          abandoned house, such as property inspectors and real estate  
          brokers, they have discovered dogs tied to trees in backyards,  
          cats and turtles in garages, and rabbits and lizards in  
          children's bedrooms.  According to the sponsor, the California  
          Animal Association, there is confusion as to what steps a  
          lender, who is in possession of a foreclosed home, must take  
          regarding the abandoned animal.  The sponsor states that banks  
          have often prohibited employees from feeding or caring for any  
          abandoned animals that are found on the foreclosed-upon  
          property.  The author concludes that this bill gives banks and  
          their employees jurisdiction to take responsibility for these  
          abandoned animals quickly, potentially saving their lives.

          California has been hard-hit by the recent housing crisis:  CNN  
          recently reported that in January, California had 57,000  
          foreclosure filings, which amounts to one for every 227 homes.   
          According to various representatives of the Humane Society and  
          the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, animals  
          are being abandoned in record amounts as a result of this recent  
          housing slump:  "Foreclosures are leaving the cities with all of  


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          the problems, including animals that have been left behind,"  
          according to Paul Bruce, regional program coordinator for the  
          Sacramento Humane Society.  These pets are often left by  
          families dealing with financial hardships.  Exacerbating this  
          problem is the fact that these families often move to apartments  
          that have no-pet policies or to the homes of relatives who do  
          not want additional pets.  As a result, banks who own the  
          property are also left with the unwanted pets.  In some  
          instances, banks do not want agents to feed these abandoned  
          pets.  This situation led Stephen Zawistowski, senior vice  
          president for the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to  
          Animals to state, "What we've always known is that when times  
          are hard for people, they're hard for their pets."  ("Pets  
          Becoming Casualty of Foreclosures," Contra Costa Times, December  
          22, 2007; "Foreclosures Lead to Abandoned Animals," Associated  
          Press Online, January 29, 2008; "SPCA's Numbers, Foreclosures  
          Line Up," Contra Costa Times, February 8, 2008.)  

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Manuel Valencia / JUD. / (916) 319-2334  

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