BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 243
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 20, 2009

                                Kevin De Leon, Chair

                      AB 243 (Nava) - As Amended:  May 13, 2009 

          Policy Committee:                              Public  
          SafetyVote:  6-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:               


          This bill:

          1)Makes it a public offense, punishable by a fine of up to one  
            year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for a person  
            to own, possess, reside, or care for any animal within five  
            years of a misdemeanor conviction for specified animal cruelty  

          2)Makes it a public offense, punishable by a fine of up to one  
            year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for a person  
            to own, possess, reside, or care for any animal within 10  
            years of a felony conviction for specified animal cruelty  

           FISCAL EFFECT 

           Unknown, likely minor, nonreimbursable costs for local law  
          enforcement and incarceration, offset to a degree by increased  
          fine revenue. For a point of reference, 35 persons were  
          committed to state prison over the past two years for felony  
          animal cruelty.  


          1)Rationale.  According to the author, "Those who have neglected  
            animals have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to  
            provide animals in their care with the basics required by law.  
            In the case of overt cruelty, defendants convicted of  
            purposely harming an animal have demonstrated that they are  
            capable of violence toward an animal. And, in the case of  


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            animal fighting, those convicted of participating in dog or  
            cockfighting have demonstrated a lack of regard for an  
            animal's welfare and a lack of concern for the suffering that  
            is associated with animal 'blood sports.' " 

            "The recidivism rate of animal cruelty and neglect crimes is,  
            according to most studies, virtually 100%. As with laws that  
            prevent sex offenders from having contact with underage  
            children, a law prohibiting abusers from contact with animals  
            will separate offenders from potential new victims. 

            "AB 243 will make it mandatory for a judge to prohibit a  
            person convicted of specified animal-related crimes from  
            owning or possessing, caring for, or having any contact with  
            animals for a minimum period of time.

            The offenses referenced in this include maliciously wounding,  
            tormenting, or killing an animal, and causing or training an  
            animal to fight with another animal. 
          2)Support.  According to the American Society for the Prevention  
            of Cruelty to Animals, "Studies have documented a link between  
            animal abuse and domestic violence with perpetrators often  
            abusing animals in order to intimidate, harass, or silence  
            their human victims. In addition, animal 'hoarders' have been  
            known to collect too many animals than they can adequately  
            care for, causing the animals to suffer and live in squalid  
            conditions. The recidivism rate for hoarders is considered to  
            be 100%."

           3)Opposition  .  Several agricultural organizations oppose the  
            reduction in judicial discretion that could prevent farmers  
            and ranchers from possessing any livestock. For example, a  
            dairy farmer convicted of training a rooster for cockfighting,  
            would be stripped of his livelihood under this bill, with no  
            recourse for the judge to amend the penalty. 

            According to the Animal Council, "This (bill) would remove all  
            judicial discretion as to these post-conviction issues? For  
            these reasons, we oppose AB 243 as excessively punitive and  
            removing judicial discretion to protect the rights of  

           4)The May 14 amendment  is intended to address the concerns of  
            agricultural organizations, by authorizing the court, in the  


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            interest of justice, to exempt a defendant from the animal ban  
            on the basis of undue economic hardship.


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