BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 242
          Author:   Nava (D), et al
          Amended:  6/1/09 in Assembly
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 7/14/09
          AYES:  Leno, Benoit, Hancock, Huff, Steinberg, Wright
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Cedillo

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  77-0, 6/2/09 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Dog fighting

           SOURCE  :     The Humane Society of the United States


           DIGEST  :    This bill increases the penalty for being a  
          spectator at a dog fight.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law provides that any person who  
          causes any animal, not including a dog, to fight with  
          another animal, or permits the same to be done on any  
          property under his or her control, or aids or abets the  
          fighting of any animal is guilty of a misdemeanor,  
          punishable by up to one year in the county jail or by a  
          fine not to exceed $5,000, or both.  (Penal Code Section  
          597b(a).)

          Existing law provides that any person who causes a cock to  
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          fight with another cock, or permits the same to be done on  
          any property under his or her control, and any person who  
          aids or abets the fighting of any cock or is present as a  
          spectator is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by  
          imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or  
          by a fine not to exceed $5,000, or by both.  (Penal Code  
          Section 597b(b).)

          Existing law provides that any person who is knowingly  
          present as a spectator at any place, building, or tenement  
          for an exhibition of animal fighting, or who is knowingly  
          present at the exhibition, or is knowingly present where  
          preparations are being made for the exhibition, fighting,  
          or injuring of an animal is guilty of a misdemeanor  
          punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed  
          six months, or by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by both.   
          (Penal Code Section 597c.)

          Existing law provides that any person who owns, possesses  
          keeps or trains any bird or other animal with the intent  
          that it be used in an exhibition of fighting is guilty of a  
          misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail  
          not to exceed one year, by a fine not to exceed $5,000, or  
          by both.  (Penal Code Section 597j.)

          Existing law provides that any person who maliciously and  
          intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a  
          living animal or maliciously and intentionally kills an  
          animal is guilty of either a misdemeanor or felony,  
          punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to one  
          year, or by a fine up to $20,000, or by imprisonment in  
          state prison for 16 months, two or three years, or by a  
          fine up to $20,000.  (Penal Code Section 597(a).)

          Existing law provides that any person who overdrives,  
          overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of  
          drink, cruelly beats, or mutilates an animal is guilty of  
          either a misdemeanor or felony, punishable by imprisonment  
          in a county jail for up to one y ear and by a fine up to  
          $20,000, or by imprisonment in state prison for 16 months,  
          two or three years and by a fine up to $20,000.  (Penal  
          Code Section 597(b).)

          Existing law provides that any person that does any of the  







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          following is guilty of a felony and is punishable by  
          imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, two or three  
          years, or by a fine not to exceed $50,000, or by both such  
          fine and imprisonment:

          1.Owns, possesses, keeps, or trains any dog, with the  
            intent that the dog shall be engaged in an exhibition of  
            fighting with another dog.

          2.For amusement or gain, causes any dog to fight with  
            another dog, or causes any dogs to injure each other.

          3.Permits any of the above acts to be done on any premises.  
             (Penal Code Section 597.5(a).)

          Existing law states that any person that is knowingly  
          present, as a spectator, at any place, building, or  
          tenement where preparations are being made for an  
          exhibition of the fighting of dogs, with the intent to be  
          present at those preparations, or is knowingly present at  
          the exhibition, fighting or injuring with the intent to be  
          present at the exhibition, fighting, or injuring is guilty  
          of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county  
          jail not to exceed six months, or by a fine not exceeding  
          $1,000, or both.  (Penal Code Section 597.5(b).)

          This bill instead provides that the penalty for being a  
          spectator at a dog fight is up to one year in county jail  
          and/or a fine up to $5,000.

           FISCAL EFFECT :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/17/09)

          The Humane Society of the United States
          Action for Animals
          American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
          Born Free USA
          California Animal Association
          California Animal Control Directors Association
          California District Attorneys Association
          California Peace Officers'Association
          California Police Chiefs Association







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          City of Long Beach
          City of West Hollywood
          Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
          Paw PAC
          The Marin Humane Society
          The PAW Project
          United Animal Nations

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/17/09)

          California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
          California Responsible Pet Owners Coalition/CaRPOC
          The Animal Council

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    Supporters of this bill argue that  
          California has weak penalties for spectators since other  
          states have felony penalties for being a spectator at a dog  
          fight.  Specifically, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical  
          Association states, "Dog fighting is a brutal and inhumane  
          activity.  Pitted against each other in battles that can  
          rage for hours, the animals suffer severe injuries, often  
          dying of blood loss, shock, dehydration, or infection  
          hours, or even days later.  Dog fights also pose a  
          substantial public safety risk, since fighting animals is  
          known to be associated with other criminal activities such  
          as gambling, weapons possession, narcotics trafficking, and  
          various violent crimes.

          "Participating in dog fighting and possessing dogs with the  
          intent to fight them are already felonies in California,  
          and all 50 states consider dog fighting a felony offense.   
          However, California's dog-fighting laws rank 42nd in  
          severity nationwide, due in part to weak spectator  
          penalties that make it difficult to prosecute all persons  
          involved.  When police raid a dog fight, it is extremely  
          difficult to distinguish the spectators form those  
          participants waiting to fight their dogs.  Thus, many  
          animals fighters manage to avoid prosecution, or receive  
          minimal penalties.  Furthermore, because states contiguous  
          to California do have more stringent felony spectator  
          provisions, dog-fighting operators are incentivised to  
          conduct their bloody business within our state."

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    Opponents argue that the  







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          existing penalties are appropriate for spectators who have  
          a different level of culpability than participants.  
           

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  : 
          AYES: Adams, Ammiano, Anderson, Arambula, Beall, Tom  
            Berryhill, Blakeslee, Blumenfield, Brownley, Buchanan,  
            Caballero, Charles Calderon, Carter, Chesbro, Conway,  
            Cook, Coto, Davis, De La Torre, De Leon, DeVore, Duvall,  
            Emmerson, Eng, Evans, Feuer, Fletcher, Fong, Fuentes,  
            Fuller, Furutani, Gaines, Galgiani, Garrick, Gilmore,  
            Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Hayashi, Hernandez, Hill, Huber,  
            Huffman, Jeffries, Jones, Knight, Krekorian, Lieu, Logue,  
            Bonnie Lowenthal, Ma, Mendoza, Miller, Monning, Nava,  
            Nestande, Niello, Nielsen, John A. Perez, V. Manuel  
            Perez, Portantino, Price, Ruskin, Salas, Saldana, Silva,  
            Smyth, Solorio, Audra Strickland, Swanson, Torlakson,  
            Torres, Torrico, Tran, Villines, Yamada, Bass
          NO VOTE RECORDED: Bill Berryhill, Block, Skinner


          RJG:cm  8/17/09   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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