BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 241
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 13, 2009

                                Kevin De Leon, Chair

                     AB 241 (Nava) - As Amended:  April 13, 2009 

          Policy Committee:                              Public  
          SafetyVote:  5-2
                        Judiciary                             8-2

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:              No


          This bill, titled the Responsible Breeder Act of 2009, makes it  
          a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in county jail  
          and/or a fine of up to $1,000, to own, possess, or otherwise  
          have custody of more than 50 unsterilized dogs or cats at any  
          time for the purpose of breeding or raising them for sale as  

          The Act does not apply to a publicly owned animal control  
          facility, a private animal shelter, a veterinary facility, or a  
          research facility, as specified. 

           FISCAL EFFECT 
          Minor nonreimbursable local law enforcement and incarceration  
          costs, offset to a degree by increased fine revenue. 

           COMMENTS  . 

           1)Rationale  . The author's intent is to crack down on puppy and  
            kitten mills, which produce large numbers of puppies and  
            kittens, often in less than ideal conditions. 

            According to the author, "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  


                                                                  AB 241
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            malnutrition, exposure, and lack of veterinary care.' 

            "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?

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

           2)Supporters  , generally animal rights advocates, contend this  
            bill addresses mistreatment of animals.  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." 

           3)Opponents  , generally pet breeders, contend this bill is  
            overbroad and intrusive. 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  


                                                                  AB 241
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            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 activity or conduct of an  
            economically viable business." 

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Geoff Long / APPR. / (916) 319-2081