BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 241
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          Date of Hearing:   April 28, 2009

                                 Mary Hayashi, Chair
                     AB 241 (Nava) - As Amended:  April 13, 2009
          SUBJECT  :   Dogs and cats:  breeding for sale. 

           SUMMARY  :   The Responsible Breeder Act of 2009 (Act) prohibits a  
          person from having more than a combined total of 50 unsterilized  
          dogs and cats, as specified.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Prohibits a person from owning, possessing, controlling, or  
            otherwise having charge or custody of more than 50  
            unsterilized dogs and cats at any time for the purpose of  
            breeding or raising such dogs and cats for sale as pets, and  
            makes a violation a misdemeanor.  

          2)Requires a person who must reduce the number of intact dogs or  
            cats in order to comply with this section to spay or neuter  
            the excess animals or sell, transfer, or relinquish the excess  
            animals within 30 days of notification by authorities.  

          3)States that if necessary, any euthanasia procedures shall be  
            performed by a licensed California veterinarian.

          4)Permits a peace officer, humane officer, or animal control  
            officer to lawfully take possession of an animal kept in  
            violation of the Act when necessary to protect the health or  
            safety of the animal or the health or safety of others.  

          5)Does not apply to:
             a)   a publicly owned animal control facility;
             b)   a duly incorporated private animal shelter;
             c)   a veterinary facility; or
             d)   a research facility, as specified.  

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Makes it a misdemeanor to permit an animal to be in any  
            building, enclosure, street, lot, or judicial district without  
            proper care and attention, and states that any peace officer,  
            humane society officer, or animal control officer shall take  
            possession of a stray or abandoned animal and shall provide  
            proper care and treatment for the animal until the animal is  


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            deemed to be in a suitable condition to be returned to the  

          2)Requires commercial breeders to maintain basic humane  
            standards in regards to sanitation, nutrition, space,  
            socialization, exercise, and veterinary care.

          3)States that it is the policy of California that no adoptable  
            treatable animal, as specified, should be euthanized if it can  
            be adopted into a suitable home.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :  

           Purpose of the bill  .  According to the author's office, "A  
          'puppy mill' is a large-scale commercial breeding facility that  
          mass-produces puppies for sale.  The World Animal Foundation  
          explains that, 'puppy mill kennels usually consist of small wood  
          and wire-mesh cages, or even empty crates or trailer cabs, all  
          kept outdoors, where female dogs are bred continuously, with no  
          rest between heat cycles.  The mothers and their litters often  
          suffer from malnutrition, exposure, and lack of veterinary  

          "Continuous breeding takes its toll on the females; they are  
          killed at about age six or seven when their bodies give out, and  
          they can no longer produce enough litters.  The puppies are  
          taken from their mothers at the age of four to eight weeks, and  
          sold to brokers who pack them into crates for transport and  
          resale to pet shops.  Puppies being shipped from mill to broker  
          to pet shop can cover hundreds of miles by pickup truck, tractor  
          trailer, and/or plane, often without adequate food, water,  
          ventilation, or shelter.  

          "Between unsanitary conditions at puppy mills and poor  
          conditions in transport, only half of the dogs bred at mills  
          survive to make it to market.  Of those that eventually do make  
          it to stores, thousands of puppies each year are often sold to  
          'impulse buyers' and ultimately end up in shelters.   Nearly one  
          million dogs and cats land in California shelters every year, of  
          whom approximately one-half are ultimately euthanized.  


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          "A criminal bust of a single puppy mill can yield massive  
          expenses to the state and local jurisdictions due to the cost of  
          shelter, food, and veterinary care.  A puppy mill bust last year  
          in which 249 animals were rescued in Buxton, Maine cost the  
          state $440,000.  Humane organizations in the region raised  
          approximately $70,000 in additional funds to assist with the  
          rescue operation.  

          "AB 241 will curb pet overpopulation, eliminate mass breeding  
          efforts, and save state and local jurisdictions vital dollars  
          during our ongoing economic crisis."

           Background  .  According to information provided by the author,  
          "The U.S. Department of Agriculture is tasked with monitoring  
          and inspecting kennels to ensure that they are not violating the  
          standards of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA.)  Unfortunately,  
          kennel inspections are a low priority.  In the U.S. there are  
          more than 1000 research facilities, more than 2,800 exhibitors,  
          and 4,500 dealers that are supposed to be inspected each year.   
          There are three Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  
          sector offices with a total of approximately 70 veterinary  
          inspectors who are supposed to inspect, unannounced, the various  
          types of facilities covered by the AWA.  This means that 70  
          inspectors are expected to cover more than 8,300 facilities  

          "Two other states - Louisiana and Virginia - have laws that cap  
          the number of animals a breeder may maintain.  Twenty-nine other  
          states are also currently considering animal cap legislation."

           Support  .  According to the Humane Society of the United States,  
          "AB 241 addresses the problems puppy mills create by limiting  
          the number of intact cats or dogs a seller can maintain.  By  
          limiting the number of animals who can reproduce, this  
          legislation will improve enforcement of existing state law and  
          enable animal control to more effectively and efficiently deal  
          with complaints about dogs and cats living in squalid conditions  
          and receiving inadequate care.  This legislation also addresses  
          pet overpopulation and the stress that large-scale breeders  
          place on animal shelters and our communities."  
          The San Diego Animal Advocates write in support, "[w]e have seen  
          the cruel consequences and the huge financial costs to taxpayers  
          of pet overpopulation.  Puppy mills and kitten mills are not  
          only a huge part of that problem but are inherently cruel in  


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          their practices.  AB 241 is an important tool to curb this ugly  
          business and stop the suffering of innocent animals."  

          Born Free states, "The documented problems of puppy mills  
          include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care,  
          overcrowding of cages, poor quality of food and shelter, lack of  
          socialization with humans, and the killing of unwanted puppies  
          or adult animals that can no longer reproduce.  

          "In spite of these awful conditions as well as the millions of  
          dogs put to death each year for lack of a home at local animal  
          shelters, puppy mills continue to churn out puppies.  By placing  
          a cap in the number of animals that can be kept at a facility,  
          AB 241 will help to improve conditions at these commercial  
          breeding facilities, thereby helping animals and protecting  

          According to the Pet Overpopulation Task Force, "In the year  
          2008, the City of Stockton Animal Shelter took in 6,430 dogs and  
          6,547 cats.  These numbers include puppies and kittens.  Of the  
          12,997 dogs and cats taken in at our shelter, 3,868 and 5,837  
          cats were euthanized.  The opponents of this bill will tell you  
          that most of the dogs and cats killed at shelters are feral and  
          not suitable for adoption.  This simply is not true.  Many of  
          these animals were healthy and docile but there simply were not  
          enough homes for them.  [I]t is time to look at and address the  
          facts of the pet overpopulation crisis and stop listening to  
          special interest groups that are selfishly protecting their  
          personal interests at the expense of mixed-breed animals that  
          have the misfortune of being born in a state that is willing to  
          spend a quarter of a billion dollars a year to destroy unwanted  

           Opposition  .  According to the Animal Council, "2009 is the first  
          time we have ever seen legislative proposals to regulate dog or  
          cat owners based on a cap of unaltered animals, so this is a  
          novel and untried concept, particularly if applied to  
          economically viable businesses conducted under satisfactory  
          husbandry standards.  Would we limit dairies the number of cows  
          or factories the number of producing machines?  No, because  
          there are other ways to regulate business as to safety and  
          quality standards.  As to animals, California already has such  
          statutes in addition to many local ordinances.  AB 241 would  
          create an unworkable, difficult to ascertain standard for a  
          criminal offense that is not rationally linked to criminal  


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          activity or conduct of an economically viable business."

          The California Responsible Pet Owners Coalition writes in  
          opposition, "AB 241 is vague in intent, definition and  
          application?.  The vagaries of the bill's language opens the  
          door to potential abuse of power, invasive investigation, and  
          arbitrary enforcement.  

          "AB 241 is taking an inappropriate approach to attempt to  
          address issues of care and husbandry.  This proposal mandates  
          new regulations to state and/or local agencies yet denies  
          reimbursement by the state for implementation.  

          "Limit laws like the 50-dog limit contained in AB 241 are based  
          on arbitrary numbers and have been found to be unenforceable as  
          well as vulnerable to court challenges.  

          "Responsible pet and hobby breeders should be treated as  
          partners in helping to improve kennel standards and to eliminate  
          negligent breeders.  Instead, this bill threatens to alienate  
          the very community that can help most.  

          "What is needed is appropriate enforcement of existing cruelty  
          and nuisance laws to crack down on those who disobey the law,  
          not more regulation for reasonable law-abiding citizens."

          The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council writes in opposition,  
          "The provisions of this bill to prohibit the possession of a  
          specified number of breeding dogs have been introduced in states  
          throughout the United States already in 2009.  Thus far, every  
          such legislature has rejected this provision because it is  
          adverse to the interests of animal welfare.  It is important to  
          note that there is no correlation between the number of animals  
          in a facility and the quality of care those animals receive or  
          the quality of the dogs offered to the public.  Some of the  
          largest commercial breeding operators in this country employ  
          state-of-the-art facilities, exceptional and frequent veterinary  
          care, and the highest standards for breeding and raising their  

          According to the Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc., (CFA), "This  
          criminal bill is based on a cap on owning 50 unaltered cats.  It  
          is virtually impossible to breed pedigreed cats as an  
          economically viable business; i.e., a 'kitty mill' so this bill  
          would more likely ensnare citizens trying to care for unaltered  


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          feral or neighborhood cats, criminalizing a labor of love.   
          Capping unaltered animals is a new policy concept and the  
          likelihood of lowering a cap will be a liability to both our  
          constituent hobby breeders as well as community cat caretakers.   
          Finally, creating a new misdemeanor crime adds unfunded costs to  
          the criminal justice system without offsetting benefits." 

           Previous legislation  .  AB 1634 (Levine) of 2007 requires all  
          cats and dogs in the state over four months old to be spayed or  
          neutered unless the owner has been issued an intact permit, as  
          defined, allowing the animal to remain unaltered.  AB 1634 died  
          in the Senate.

          SB 861 (Speier), Chapter 668, Statutes of 2005 allows cities and  
          counties to enact breed-specific ordinances for mandatory  
          spaying, neutering and breeding restrictions. 

          AB 1856 (Vincent), Chapter 747, Statutes of 1998 requires all  
          public animal control agencies or shelters, other specified  
          shelters, and rescue groups in counties over 100,000 to spay or  
          neuter any dog or cat that it sells or gives away.  AB 1856 also  
          imposes new fines and penalties on owners of unsterilized dogs  
          or cats that are impounded. 

          SB 1785 (Hayden), Chapter 752, Statutes of 1998, requires  
          shelters to hold adoptable dogs and cats for a minimum time  
          period, and permits nonprofit organizations to adopt animals in  
          an effort to find the animals permanent homes. 


          American Society for the Protection of Cruelty against Animals  
          The Humane Society of the United States (co-sponsor)
          Social Compassion in Legislation (co-sponsor)
          Born Free
          California Peace Officers' Association
          California Police Chiefs Association
          City of Fresno
          Compassion for Animals
          Henry T. Perea, Council Member, 7th District, City of Fresno
          Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
          Last Chance for Animals


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          Madera County Animal Services
          The Pet Care Foundation
          Pet Overpopulation Task Force of Stockton
          Placer County Animal Shelter
          San Diego Animal Advocates
          Shasta Animal Welfare Foundation
          Stockton Police Department
          United Animal Nations
          Numerous individuals

          American Herding Breed Association
          Animal Council 
          American Kennel Club
          California Federation of Dog Clubs
          Cat Fanciers' Association
          Feline Friends International
          German Shepherd Dog Club of America
          Golden Retriever Club of Greater Los Angeles
          Miniature Schnauzer Club of Northern California
          Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC)
          Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States, Inc
          We the People for Pets
          United States Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Others
          Numerous individuals
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Whitney Clark / B. & P. / (916)