BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 490
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 29, 2009

                          ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
                              Cathleen Galgiani, Chair
                     AB 490 (Smyth) - As Amended:  March 23, 2009

           BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS        11-0                               
                                                                

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          |Ayes:|Hayashi, Emmerson,        |     |                          |
          |     |Conway, Eng, Hernandez,   |     |                          |
          |     |Nava, Niello, John A.     |     |                          |
          |     |Perez, Price, Ruskin,     |     |                          |
          |     |Smyth                     |     |                          |
          |-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           SUBJECT  :  Pet stores.

           SUMMARY  :  Revises the requirements for pet store operators and  
          employees to kill rodents and rabbits intended as food for  
          another animal and modifies the definition of a pet store.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

       1)Permits a pet store operator or an employee of a pet store to  
            destroy a rodent or rabbit intended as food for another animal  
            only if the rodent or rabbit is euthanized by a method that is  
            performed in a humane manner, appropriate for the species,  
            authorized by state law, and in compliance with the 2007  
            American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines on  
            Euthanasia. 

       2)Specifies that the euthanasia shall be performed by the pet store  
            operator or employee only if a California-licensed  
            veterinarian has certified in writing that the pet store  
            operator or employee is properly trained and proficient in  
            performing euthanasia on that particular species.

       3)Specifies that the certification shall be valid for a period of  
            not more than three years, and may be recertified for  
            additional three-year periods.

       4)Specifies that the certification of a pet store operator or  
            employee shall be retained by the pet store for three years,  








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            unless a longer period is otherwise required under California  
            law.

       5)Specifies that the certification shall be made available upon  
            request to appropriate law enforcement officers, as specified.

       6)Specifies that it is the responsibility of the pet store operator  
            to ensure that euthanasia is performed in compliance with this  
            bill.

       7)Excludes from the definition of "pet store" a retail  
            establishment that sells or offers for sale animals directly  
            related to an agricultural operation for the commercial  
            growing and harvesting of crops or the raising of livestock or  
            poultry on a farm or a ranch.

           EXISTING LAW  establishes the Pet Store Animal Care Act (Act),  
          which regulates the care and maintenance of animals in the  
          custody of a pet store, and provides limits on the sale or  
          transfer of those animals; permits euthanasia of an animal  
          intended as food for another animal using humane methods, as  
          specified in Appendix 2 of the AVMA 2000 Report of the AVMA  
          Panel on Euthanasia; specifies that each employee who performs  
          euthanasia shall receive adequate training, and proof of  
          successful completion of such training shall be documented in  
          writing and retained by the pet store for two years, unless a  
          longer period is otherwise required under California law; and,  
          defines a pet store as a retail establishment open to the public  
          and selling or offering for sale animals, except that a person  
          who transfers only animals that were bred or raised, or both, by  
          that person, is considered a breeder and not a pet store. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown.  Legislative Counsel has keyed this  
          bill fiscal.

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, AB 490 is intended to be a  
          minor clean-up bill to AB 1347 (Caballero), Chapter 703,  
          Statutes of 2007.  Two changes are being requested to change  
          existing law.  The first is at the request of the California  
          Department of Food and Agriculture to ensure that agricultural  
          establishments are not considered pet stores for the purposes of  
          this act.  The second is at the request of AVMA, animal  
          protection groups and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council,  
          all who worked in favor of AB 1347, and realized that the  
          euthanasia section of code was technical, ambiguous, and needed  








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          to be clarified. 

          Those two requests to change existing law are the reason for the  
          introduction this year of AB 490 (Smyth), and also were the  
          reason for the introduction of SB 986 (Ridley-Thomas) of 2008,  
          which was vetoed by the Governor.  In 2008, the Governor vetoed  
          a larger number of bills than commonly occurs using a generic  
          veto message.  SB 986 was included in those numbers.  Both  
          bills, for policy purposes, are identical to each other.

          In attempting to exclude agricultural stores from the definition  
          of a "Pet store", the definition seems to be cumbersome.  The  
          committee may wish to consider clarifying the definition of a  
          "Pet store" to state: "Pet store" means, for the purpose of this  
          Act, a retail establishment open to the public and selling or  
          offering for sale animals as pets or an animal intended as food  
          for another animal.  "Pet Store" does not include a retail  
          establishment open to the public and selling or offering for  
          sale animals to be used in commercial or agricultural  
          operations, or for commercial or agricultural purposes, or for  
          student or youth projects, or for educational purposes.  

          In 2006, the AVMA convened a panel of scientific experts to  
          produce the "AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia" dated June 2007.   
          These guidelines summarize contemporary scientific knowledge on  
          euthanasia in animals and call attention to the lack of  
          scientific reports assessing pain, discomfort, and distress in  
          animals being euthanized, and are intended for use by members of  
          the veterinary profession who carry out or oversee the  
          euthanasia of animals.  They also include instructions on proper  
          euthanasia techniques.  This report is referenced in AB 490.   
          The committee may wish to consider replacing the date of June  
          2007 with a reference to "most recently published guidelines".

          Previous legislation  :  SB 986 (Ridley-Thomas) of 2008, was  
          vetoed by the Governor.  This bill was substantially the same as  
          AB 490 (Smyth) of 2009.  The Governor vetoed a substantial  
          number of bills that year with the same message.  The veto  
          message stated:

               "I am returning Senate Bill 986 without my signature.

               The historic delay in passing the 2008-2009 State Budget  
               has forced me to prioritize the bills sent to my desk at  
               the end of the year's legislative session.  Given the  








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               delay, I am only signing bills that are the highest  
               priority for California.  This bill does not meet that  
               standard and I cannot sign it at this time."

          AB 1347 (Caballero), Chapter 703, Statutes of 2007, created the  
          Act, established procedures for the care and maintenance of  
          animals in the custody of a pet store, and placed limitations on  
          the sale or transfer of those animals, effective January 1,  
          2009.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :  

           Support 
           
          Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (Sponsor)
          Born Free
          California Veterinary Medical Association
          California Animal Control Directors Association
          PetSmart

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Jim Collin / AGRI. / (916) 319-2084