BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 353
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          SENATE THIRD READING
          SB 353 (Kuehl)
          As Amended June 7, 2007
          Majority vote 

           SENATE VOTE  :31-7  
           
           JUDICIARY           10-0        APPROPRIATIONS      15-1        
           
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          |Ayes:|Jones, Berryhill, Duvall, |Ayes:|Leno, Walters, Caballero, |
          |     |Evans, Berg, Keene,       |     |Davis, DeSaulnier,        |
          |     |Krekorian, Laird, Levine, |     |Emmerson, Huffman,        |
          |     |Lieber                    |     |Karnette, Krekorian,      |
          |     |                          |     |Lieu, Ma, Nakanishi,      |
          |     |                          |     |Nava, Sharon Runner,      |
          |     |                          |     |Solorio                   |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |     |                          |Nays:|La Malfa                  |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           SUMMARY  :  Allows a court to protect an animal in a domestic  
          violence protective order.  Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Finds, among other things, that there is a correlation between  
            animal abuse and family violence and that perpetrators of  
            abuse often abuse animals in order to intimidate their human  
            victims.

          2)Allows a court, upon a showing of good cause, to include in a  
            domestic violence protective order a grant of exclusive care,  
            possession, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased,  
            kept or held by either the petitioner, respondent, or minor  
            child residing in the residence.  

          3)Allows the court to order the respondent to stay away from the  
            animal and forbid the taking, transferring, encumbering,  
            concealing, molesting, attacking, striking, threatening,  
            harming or otherwise disposing of the animal.

          4)Requires the Judicial Council to modify the applicable  
            criminal and civil court forms to conform to this bill by July  
            1, 2009.








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           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Allows a court to issue a domestic violence protective order  
            enjoining a party from molesting, attacking, striking,  
            stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering,  
            harassing, destroying personal property, and other specified  
            behaviors.  

          2)Allows protective orders to be issued ex parte, after notice  
            and a hearing, or by a judicial officer after assertions by a  
            law enforcement officer that the person is in immediate and  
            present danger of domestic violence.  

          3)Allows a court to extend a protective order, upon a showing of  
            good cause, to other named family or household members.  
           
           4)Permits a court to issue an ex parte order enjoining a party  
            from specified behaviors, excluding them from the family  
            dwelling, determining temporary custody of, and visitation  
            with, a minor child, and temporarily determining use,  
            possession or control of real or personal property, provided  
            certain requirements are met.  

          5)Provides that a court with jurisdiction over a criminal matter  
            may issue a criminal protective order pursuant to Family Code  
            provisions governing domestic violence protective orders.  

          6)Generally prohibits cruelty to animals.  
           
          FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          analysis, minor absorbable costs for the Judicial Council to  
          modify forms.

           COMMENTS  :  Domestic violence remains a very serious problem in  
          California and across the nation.  To provide protection for  
          victims of domestic violence, current law allows victims to seek  
          a restraining order to prevent an abuser from continuing the  
          abuse.  That order, granted by a court, may be of varying  
          duration depending on the circumstances.  Those orders generally  
          cover the victim, but may be extended to named family or  
          household members, upon a showing of good cause.  This bill  
          seeks to protect domestic violence victims and animals by  
          allowing a court to include them within a domestic violence  








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          protective order.

          The need for this bill is exemplified by the story of Susan  
          Walsh:

               She said she had wanted many times to take her two  
               children and leave her husband, ending a relationship  
               she found frightening and controlling.  But she said  
               she was afraid he would harm the animals on their  
               32-acre plot called Blessed Be Farm in Ellsworth, Me.  
                In the past, she said in a telephone interview  
               yesterday, he had retaliated against her by running  
               over her blind and deaf border collie named Katydid,  
               shooting two sheep and wringing the necks of her  
               prized turkeys.  "It wasn't just the cats and the  
               dogs I had, it was the sheep and the chickens - I was  
               terrified for their welfare," Ms. Walsh, 50, said.   
               "I knew if I were to leave, he wouldn't hesitate to  
               kill them.  He had done it before."

          (Pam Belluck,  New Maine Law Shields Animals in Domestic Violence  
          Cases  , New York Times (April 1, 2006).)

          Recent research also provides support for this legislation,  
          revealing that pets have been used by abusers to control their  
          victims, such as threatening to hurt an animal if a victim were  
          to leave an abusive situation.  Studies cited by the author in  
          support of the bill include:  1) a 1997 Human Society of the  
          United States survey showing that 85% of women and 63% of  
          children surveyed entering large battered women's shelters  
          discussed incidents of pet abuse; 2) a 1998 study that reported  
          that 71% of women seeking shelter at a particular safe house  
          stated that their partner "threatened to hurt, or killed their  
          companion animals"; and, 3) a 1983 survey of pet-owning families  
          with substantiated child abuse and neglect that found that  
          animals were abused in 88% of homes where child physical abuse  
          was present.  Recognizing this abuse, several states, including  
          Maine and Vermont, have recently passed laws to protect pets in  
          restraining orders.

          This bill allows animals to be included in the scope of a  
          domestic violence protective order.  As the term is not  
          specifically defined in the bill, "animal" would encompass  
          virtually any possible pet that may be threatened by an abuser.   








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          In defining "animal," American Jurisprudence, Second Edition,  
          states that generally "in the language of the law, the word  
          'animal' is used to mean all animal life other than humans."  

          In addition to ordering the respondent to stay away from the  
          animal in question, this bill allows a court to include a grant  
          of care, possession or control over the animal.  Initial grants  
          of care and orders to stay away from an animal could be placed  
          within ex parte temporary restraining orders.   With the good  
          cause requirement, the court must still find good cause before  
          issuing the temporary restraining order.  At the subsequent  
          noticed motion and hearing, held within 21 days, the respondent  
          would have the opportunity to dispute the initial ex parte order  
          for exclusive care, possession, or control of the family pet.  

           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Leora Gershenzon / JUD. / (916)  
          319-2334 


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