BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    







                      SENATE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY
                             Senator Mark Leno, Chair                A
                             2009-2010 Regular Session               B

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          AB 241 (Nava)                                               
          As Amended June 23, 2009 
          Hearing date:  July 2, 2009
          Penal Code
          MK:br

                           DOGS AND CATS:  BREEDING FOR SALE  

                                       HISTORY

          Source:  The Humane Society of the United States
                   The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to  
          Animals
                   Social Compassion in Legislation

          Prior Legislation: None

          Support: Best Friends Animal Society; California Animal Control  
                   Directors Association; California Animal Association;  
                   United Animal Nations; Pet Overpopulation Task Force;  
                   Another Chance Animal Welfare League; City of West  
                   Hollywood; The Paw Project; Voice for the Animals  
                   Foundation; California Peace Officers' Association;  
                   California Police Chiefs Association; California  
                   Federation for Animal Legislation; Born Free USA; City  
                   of Fresno; City of Stockton; City of Long Beach;  
                   Compassion for Animals; Friends of Auburn/Tahoe Vista  
                   Placer County Animal Shelter; Humane Society Veterinary  
                   Medical Association; Last Chance for Animals; Madera  
                   County Department of Animal Services; Paw Pac; The Pet  
                   Care Foundation; San Diego Animal Advocates; Shasta  
                   Animal Welfare Foundation; a number of individuals





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          Opposition:American Kennel Club; Greyhound Club of Northern  
                   California; German Shepherd Dog Club of America; Pet  
                   Industry Joint Advisory Council; Chow Fanciers  
                   Association of Southern California; California  
                   Responsible Pet Owners Coalition; Miniature Schnauzer  
                   Club of Northern California; PetPAC; Irish Wolfhound  
                   Club of America; California Federation of Dog Clubs;  
                   American Herding Breed Association; The Irish Water  
                   Spaniel Club of America; The Animal Council; California  
                   Outdoor Heritage Alliance; a number of individuals

          Assembly Floor Vote:  Ayes 60 - Noes 14


                                         KEY ISSUE
           
          SHOULD THE LAW PROVIDE THAT NO PERSON SHALL OWN, POSSESS, CONTROL OR  
          OTHERWISE HAVE CHARGE OR CUSTODY OF MORE THAN A COMBINED TOTAL OF 50  
          UNSTERILIZED DOGS AND CATS AT ANY TIME USED FOR THE PURPOSE OF  
          BREEDING OR RAISING DOGS OR CATS FOR SALE AS PETS, OR FOR THE  
          PURPOSE OF PRODUCING OFFSPRING FROM DOGS OR CATS FOR SALE AS PETS?


                                       PURPOSE

          The purpose of this bill is to prohibit any person from owning  
          more than 50 unsterilized dogs or cats for the purposes of  
          breeding them for pets.
          
           Existing law  makes it a misdemeanor to permit an animal to be in  
          any building, enclosure, street, lot, or judicial district  
          without proper care and attention.  Existing law also states  
          that any peace officer, humane society officer, or animal  
          control officer shall take possession of the stray or abandoned  
          animal and shall provide proper care and treatment for the  
          animal until the animal is deemed to be in a suitable condition  
          to be returned to the owner.  Existing law also provides that  
          when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that very  
          prompt action is required to protect the health or safety of the  
          animal, the officer shall immediately seize the animal and  




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          comply with specified opportunity for a pre-seizure or  
          post-seizure hearing, as specified, to determine the validity of  
          a seizure or impoundment of the animal(s).  (Penal Code  597.1  
          (a).)

           Existing law  provides that the animal's owner's failure to  
          request to attend, or to attend a scheduled hearing shall result  
          in a forfeiture of the animal(s) and the right to challenge the  
          costs of the owner(s)' liability for any costs incurred.  (Penal  
          Code  597.1 (f).)

           Existing law  provides that where the need for the immediate  
          seizure of the animal is not present and prior to the  
          commencement of any criminal proceedings, the agency shall  
          provide the owner or keeper of the animal with the opportunity  
          for a hearing prior to the seizure of the animal, if  
          ascertainable after reasonable investigation.  (Penal Code   
          597.1 (f).)

           Existing law  states that it is the policy of California that no  
          adoptable animal should be euthanized if it can be adopted into  
          a suitable home.  Provides that adoptable animals include only  
          those animals eight weeks of age or older that, at or subsequent  
          to the time the animal is impounded have manifested no sign of  
          behavioral or temperamental defect that could pose a health or  
          safety risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for  
          placement as a pet, and have manifested no sign of disease,  
          injury, congenital or hereditary condition that adversely  
          affects the health of the animal or that is likely to adversely  
          affect the health of the animal in the future.  (Penal Code   
          599d (a).)

           Existing law  further states that it is the policy of California  
          that no treatable animal should be euthanized and that a  
          treatable animal includes any animal that is not adoptable but  
          that could become adoptable with reasonable efforts.  (Penal  
          Code 599d (b).)

           Existing law  requires a notice with specified information to be  
          posted to a conspicuous place where the animal was situated  




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          stating the grounds for believing the animal should be seized.   
          (Penal Code  597.1 (g)(1).)

           Existing law  requires the notice to state that the cost of  
          caring for and treating the animal is a lien on the animal and  
          that any animal shall not be returned to the owner until the  
          charges are paid.  (Penal Code 597 (g)(1).)

           This bill  provides that no person shall own, possess, control,  
          or otherwise have charge or custody of more than a combined  
          total of 50 unsterilized dogs and cats at any time used for the  
          purpose of breeding or raising dogs or cats for sale as pets, or  
          for the purpose of producing offspring from dogs or cats for  
          sale as pets.

           This bill  provides that any person that must reduce the number  
          of unsterilized dogs or cats in order to comply with this  
          section shall spay or neuter the excess animals or sell,  
          transfer, or relinquish the excess animals within 30 days  
          following notification by authorities specified.  If necessary,  
          any euthanasia procedures shall be performed by a California  
          licensed veterinarian.

           This bill  provides that a peace officer, humane officer, or  
          animal control officer may lawfully take possession of an  
          animal kept in violation of this section when necessary to  
          protect the health or safety of the animal or the health or  
          safety of others.  An officer that seizes an animal under this  
          subdivision shall comply with paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive,  
          of subdivision (f) of Section 597.1.

           This bill  provides that a person who violates this section is  
          guilty of a misdemeanor.

           This bill  provides that it does not apply to any of the  
          following:

                 A publicly operated animal control facility or duly  
               incorporated private animal shelter.
                 A veterinary facility.




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                 A research facility, as defined in Section 2132 (e) of  
               Title 7 of the United States Code.

                    RECEIVERSHIP/OVERCROWDING CRISIS AGGRAVATION
          
          California continues to face a severe prison overcrowding  
          crisis.  The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)  
          currently has about 170,000 inmates under its jurisdiction.  Due  
          to a lack of traditional housing space available, the department  
          houses roughly 15,000 inmates in gyms and dayrooms.   
          California's prison population has increased by 125% (an average  
          of 4% annually) over the past 20 years, growing from 76,000  
          inmates to 171,000 inmates, far outpacing the state's population  
          growth rate for the age cohort with the highest risk of  
          incarceration.<1>

          In December of 2006 plaintiffs in two federal lawsuits against  
          CDCR sought a court-ordered limit on the prison population  
          pursuant to the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act.  On  
          February 9, 2009, the three-judge federal court panel issued a  
          tentative ruling that included the following conclusions with  
          respect to overcrowding:

               No party contests that California's prisons are  
               overcrowded, however measured, and whether considered  
               in comparison to prisons in other states or jails  
               within this state.  There are simply too many  
               prisoners for the existing capacity.  The Governor,  
               the principal defendant, declared a state of emergency  
               in 2006 because of the "severe overcrowding" in  
               California's prisons, which has caused "substantial  
               risk to the health and safety of the men and women who  
               work inside these prisons and the inmates housed in  
               ----------------------
          <1>  "Between 1987 and 2007, California's population of ages 15  
          through 44 - the age cohort with the highest risk for  
          incarceration - grew by an average of less than 1% annually,  
          which is a pace much slower than the growth in prison  
          admissions."  (2009-2010 Budget Analysis Series, Judicial and  
          Criminal Justice, Legislative Analyst's Office (January 30,  
          2009).)



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               them."  . . .  A state appellate court upheld the  
               Governor's proclamation, holding that the evidence  
               supported the existence of conditions of "extreme  
               peril to the safety of persons and property."  
               (citation omitted)  The Governor's declaration of the  
               state of emergency remains in effect to this day.

               . . .  the evidence is compelling that there is no  
               relief other than a prisoner release order that will  
               remedy the unconstitutional prison conditions.

               . . .

               Although the evidence may be less than perfectly  
               clear, it appears to the Court that in order to  
               alleviate the constitutional violations California's  
               inmate population must be reduced to at most 120% to  
               145% of design capacity, with some institutions or  
               clinical programs at or below 100%.  We caution the  
               parties, however, that these are not firm figures and  
               that the Court reserves the right - until its final  
               ruling - to determine that a higher or lower figure is  
               appropriate in general or in particular types of  
               facilities.

               . . .

               Under the PLRA, any prisoner release order that we  
               issue will be narrowly drawn, extend no further than  
               necessary to correct the violation of constitutional  
               rights, and be the least intrusive means necessary to  
               correct the violation of those rights.  For this  
               reason, it is our present intention to adopt an order  
               requiring the State to develop a plan to reduce the  
               prison population to 120% or 145% of the prison's  
               design capacity (or somewhere in between) within a  








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               period of two or three years.<2>

          The final outcome of the panel's tentative decision, as well as  
          any appeal that may be in response to the panel's final  
          decision, is unknown at the time of this writing.

           This bill  does not appear to aggravate the prison overcrowding  
          crisis outlined above.

                                      COMMENTS

          1.  Need for This Bill  

          According to the author:

              According to The Humane Society of the United States, 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 adequate 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  
              ------------------------
          <2>  Three Judge Court Tentative Ruling, Coleman v.  
          Schwarzenegger, Plata v. Schwarzenegger, in the United States  
          District Courts for the Eastern District of California and the  
          Northern District of California United States District Court  
          composed of three judges pursuant to Section 2284, Title 28  
          United States Code (Feb. 9, 2009).



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              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  
              treatment 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 1 million dogs and cats land in  
              California shelters every year, of whom approximately half  
              are ultimately euthanized.

              A criminal bust of a single puppy mill can yield massive  
              expenses to 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.

          2.  Limit on the Number of Animals a Breeder Can Have  

          This bill caps at 50 the number of unsterilized dogs or cats a  
          person can have for the purpose of breeding them as pets.   
          Supporters argue this bill is necessary to address the problem  
          of "puppy mills" where dogs are kept in unsafe conditions, or  
          breeding or inbreeding may occur.  Specifically the California  
          Animal Association argues:

              Puppy mills are the source of many genetically  
              inferior diseased animals sold to California  
              consumers.  Puppy mills are usually sold in pet shops  
              but increasingly over the Internet.  They are vehicles  
              for impulse purchases which are often regretted later  
              resulting in an increased number of abandoned dogs in  




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              our public animal shelters.  Lowering the number of  
              animals that can be bred at a single facility is a  
              beginning at controlling the large number of pets  
              destroyed in this state at public expense.








































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          Furthermore, the APCA states:

              The U.S. Department of Agriculture licenses and  
              inspects large-scale commercial breeding operations to  
              a certain extent and California law requires basic  
              humane standards.  However, there are loopholes and a  
              lack of enforcement at both the federal and state  
              level.  There are no federal or state laws that  
              address the negative impact of large-scale breeding  
              operations on pet overpopulation.  The Responsible  
              Breeder Act of 2009 helps curb pet overpopulation.   
              The Responsible Breeder Act of 2009 helps curb pet  
              overpopulation, prevents the inherent cruelty and poor  
              welfare associated with high-volume breeding, and will  
              save the state money by limiting the number of intact  
              dogs and cats a seller can maintain.

          SHOULD THE LAW LIMIT THE NUMBER OF UNSTERILIZED DOGS OR CATS A  
          BREEDER CAN MAINTAIN?

          3.  The Oppositions Concerns about the Bill  

          The opponents of this bill argue that existing animal cruelty  
          laws already address the problems with animals that are not  
          cared for appropriately and that limiting the number of  
          unsterilized animals merely hurts legitimate breeders.  For  
          example the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America states:

              AB 241 is well meaning but unnecessary.  California  
              already has animal cruelty laws that address bad  
              facilities, but we need to enforce them rather than  
              merely adding another layer of difficult-to-enforce  
              laws.  Similar bills with arbitrary numerical caps  
              have been introduced and rejected in several states  
              so far this year.  The two states that passed this  
              type of "model" legislation last year are now  
              finding it unenforceable.

              If this bill's aim is to create minimum standards of  




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              animal care, why shouldn't those standards also  
              apply to shelters, pet stores, and any other  
              facility that houses and places pets with the  
              public?

              Our responsible breeders should be treated as  
              partners in helping to improve standards and  
              eliminate substandard kennels, but this misguided  
              bill will alienate the very community that can help  
              most.

              When it comes to proper animal care, it is the  
              quality of care and the conditions that matters, not  
              quantity.  Limit laws have a little to do with the  
              quality of care.  One lazy person with a single  
              animal may be negligent, while another with many  
              animals may provide excellent care.

              People who maintain dogs and cats responsibility and  
              humanely and do not present a nuisance to their  
              neighbors or to their communities should not be  
              prevented from keeping them because other animal  
              owners might not be as responsible.

              During this time of fiscal crisis the need is to  
              focus on more immediate priorities.  Please don't  
              waste precious time on misguided and unnecessary  
              legislation that localities won't have the resources  
              to properly enforce.

          Existing law already punishes animal neglect, impounding an  
          animal without sufficient food and water, mistreating confined  
          animals, the sale of puppies under eight weeks of age, keeping  
          an animal without proper care and regulates pet shops and live  
          animal markets.  (Penal Code  597e, 597f, 597l, 597t, 597z,  
          597.1; 597.3)  Some of these offenses could apply to the  
          behavior intended to be prohibited by this bill.  Is the  
          problem that the existing law is not adequate or that it is not  
          being enforced?  Are the opponents correct that the number of  
          dogs or cats does not in and of itself mean that the breeder is  












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          substandard?  Could the limitation have any unintended  
          consequences for example the proponents raise concerns  
          regarding inbreeding as well as not giving the females a rest  
          between litters?  Does limiting the number of dogs or cats a  
          person have solve this issue or encourage more of the undesired  
          behavior?

          DOES EXISTING LAW ADEQUATELY PROHIBIT THE BEHAVIOR SOUGHT TO BE  
          PROHIBITED BY THIS BILL?

          DOES THE FACT THAT A BREEDER HAS A LARGE NUMBER OF DOGS IN AND  
          OF ITSELF MEAN THAT THE BREEDER IS SUBSTANDARD?

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